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Guardiola and Sir Alex Ferguson / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

One of Barça's two representatives – Xavi or Messi – and their manager Pep Guardiola could be proclaimed Player and Manager of the year at FIFA's special award ceremony in Zurich and the boss believes: "there's no need to talk to players like Messi, Xavi or Iniesta  to motivate them. They are competing against themselves. They love this sport and really enjoy it – that's why Xavi has spent so long at the top for instance. You can never be the best at what you do if you don't give the best you have inside of you."

Home grown triumph

The fact that last year's podium was filled with home grown players and that two of them are back in the running this year is "the most important success. I don't mean to say by that that players who come in from outside aren't important, but these players who grew up together and have played and been friends for a long time, sharing the same ideals- they have a commitment beyond the sporting area and a real feeling for each other. Winning or losing is one thing, but to be able to play a final with 9 or 10 players who have come up through the Club is something else and a success of a whole group of people who have contributed to their training and education. That makes us proud of the Club we represent."

Awards stem from titles

For Guardiola the large number of Club players up for awards is down to the success of winning five competitions in 2011, as is his own nomination as Manager of the Year: "we are here because we won. It's impossible to judge who is the best manager  - we are all here because we are in charge of big clubs with the chance to have great players. This isn't tennis – it's a collective game in which we all play a part."

Praise for Madrid

Asked about his team's position in the league, Guardiola accepted Real Madrid's strong position with a five point lead: "we are up against a rival who can boast some spectacular stats and we have to live with the fact that after winning so much, maybe you can always lose that perfection. It's down to us and how we manage to compete until the end of the season."

Ferguson: “ Barça are the best team in the world”

The press conference held before tonight's ceremony was shared between the three Barça representatives(Guardiola, Xavi and Messi) and Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. The Scot was again full of praise for Barça, claiming: "as a team they are the best by a long way and I've been saying that for a few years now. Sometimes in football you just have to say 'they are better than us.' Barça are the best and I can see nobody better to win the award tonight than Pep." As to Leo Messi, Sir Alex believes: "he's a player who could have been playing in the 50s, just as well as now."

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