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News in brief

Ribéry voted best outfield player

European Player of the Year. Man of the Year. And now the best outfield player in the first half of the season. Franck Ribéry is racking up award after award at the moment. Respected German sports weekly kicker named the Frenchman player of the season in the summer, and now a survey of Bundesliga pros saw a landslide 56.4 percent vote for the Bayern star. Ribéry’s team-mate Arjen Robben was second with 11.4 percent. Philipp Lahm (4.7 percent) was fourth behind Marco Reus (6.8 percent). 238 players took part in the survey. 59 percent of Bundesliga pros believe Bayern will be the first club to successfully defend the Champions League title.

International rating for Kroos, Schweinsteiger and Mandzu

The kicker rankings of German football are also dominated by FCB players. The attacking midfield and striker ratings were published on Monday. Toni Kroos set the pace amongst the midfielders - ahead of third-placed Bastian Schweinsteiger who missed a lot of games before the winter break due to injury. The duo were ranked as ‘International class’. Mario Mandzukic earned the same accolade in the forwards section. He came second behind Robert Lewandowski who joins FC Bayern in the summer.

Guardiola meets Raul

Pep Guardiola and Bayern received a visit from former Real Madrid and Schalke star striker Raul at the training camp in Doha on Monday. The two Spaniards embraced before holding a long conversation at the Aspire Academy. “We talked about his life, his family and what it’s like playing football here in Qatar,” explained Guardiola. Raul has been at Qatari club Al Sadd since 2012. The two played together for Spain between 1996 and 2001.

Cake for Toni

There was a surprise for Toni Kroos following the evening meal on Sunday. A day after his 24th birthday, his team-mates presented Kroos with a cake in the shape of a football boot and a ball. That was accompanied by a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ by the assembled Bayern players. It's hard to imagine a better start to a training camp.