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'You’re a legend'

Heynckes accepts top award from Guardiola

Bayern’s treble-winning former coach Jupp Heynckes was honoured on Thursday evening with a prestigious Bambi award in the sport category. The golden fawn, Germany’s leading media prize, was presented to the 68-year-old by pop star and committed football fan Robbie Williams and Heynckes’ successor as FCB coach Pep Guardiola, who also delivered the citation.

“FC Bayern has you to thank for many trophies - but this trophy is for you alone,” Guardiola said in German, praising his predecessor as a “magnificent colleague. You’re a legend in Germany, but every kid in Catalonia and Spain knows who you are as well. You are a huge role model to me, as an expert but also as a person.“

Guardiola recalled the bitter Champions League final defeat in Munich in 2012. “You picked the team up again, with your experience, courage and big heart. You were rewarded with the treble – and it’s your treble! You handed me a perfect team, and I can’t top your achievement.”

Delighted Heynckes

Heynckes was visibly emotional as he accepted his Bambi, saying he was “deeply moved” by Guardiola’s words. The former coach then addressed the audience of 800 at Potsdamer Platz Theatre. “I’m extremely pleased Pep is here today. Receiving the Bambi is a great honour for me and I’m delighted. If my mother could be here to see it, she would be very proud.“

The 68-year-old said he accepted the Bambi “on behalf of my wonderful team. Coaching FC Bayern is a privilege. And it was a privilege to take charge of this team.” He agreed that the foundation for the historic treble-winning season was the bitter disappointment of 2012: “In my entire career I’ve never seen such empty, disappointed and devastated faces on a group of players. For me personally that was the critical factor in us going on to have such an outstanding season.“

The Mönchengladbach native then thanked his wife Iris, who was in the audience: “At home and abroad she’s always been with me and supported me. You’ve not just contributed to my success, it’s your success too!

Beckenbauer, Hoeneß, Kahn

Heynckes joins an elite group of FCB personalities to receive the golden fawn, led by five-time winner Franz Beckenbauer. Uli Hoeneß, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Oliver Kahn and Michael Ballack are also previous recipients.

At Thursday evening’s 65th Bambi ceremony, Jérôme Boateng also received an honourable mention, as the FCB centre-back is involved in Berlin community project Mitternachtssport (Midnight Sport), winner of the Bambi for Integration. The project helps disadvantaged youths escape life on the streets through sport. Initiator Ismail Öner accepted the fawn and mentioned Boateng by name in his speech.