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Zurich, Doha, training ground

Neuer & Robben: Happy, exhausted, hungry

Pep Guardiola gave his players Wednesday afternoon off but two players still worked up a sweat in Doha: Manuel Neuer and Arjen Robben. The day after their return from the FIFA Ballon d'Or awards in Zurich they put in an extra shift to catch up with training. “It’s good to be back at work,” said Robben.

In spite of missing sessions due to the travelling the Dutchman had “no complaints. It’s obviously not ideal but I think it’s an honour to fly there and be in the World XI.” Neuer thinks likewise. The world’s best goalkeeper said he was exhausted after the 13-hour flight, “but it was a great trip and a really great evening. I’m proud to make the final three. A great experience!”

Training takes centre stage again now. “I’m really enjoying myself on the pitch at the moment because everything is right physically,” said Robben, “I want to carry on and work on improving little things.” Arjen has not set himself any specific targets for the second half of the season. He never does that. “It’s always about the team being successful,” he said, “you can only be successful as a player if the team is winning.”

FC Bayern are hopefully on the road to success in the winter break with an eleven point lead in the Bundesliga. “It’s comfortable,” said Neuer but he also knows there is still half a season to go. “We know we can’t afford to slip up now.” Nor will the team’s hunger be so easily satisfied: “We want to carry on as we are and not ease off.”

Neuer and Robben were both able to put their feet up after the extra session on Wednesday as Guardiola has set the next training session for Thursday afternoon. They will definitely come up with something, announced Robben. “The others are making plans. You need that too. You can’t just sit around in the hotel. It’s boring and not good for your head. You need to get and see something new.” Have fun guys!