Jupp Heynckes guided Bayern Munich to the European treble last season as the Bavarians won the German Cup and league double and the UEFA Champions League. The 68-year-old was duly named FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football at the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2013 in Zurich. After the ceremony he spoke to FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: Many congratulations on winning the vote for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football 2013. What does the award mean to you?
Jupp Heynckes: It’s obviously a tremendous honour at the end of my career. I had almost 50 years as a player and coach, and experienced many highs, lows, successes and failures. This is the crowning glory to round it all off and I’m extremely happy.
How did you feel when you took to the stage to accept the award in this magnificent setting with so many current and former greats of the game?
It was definitely very special here today in the presence of so many footballing celebrities and representatives of the game’s history, from Pele to Zidane and Platini. Of course, with the exception of Zidane they’re all from my own era. It’s a fantastic setting and a fantastic event. I was exceptionally glad to come here tonight. Obviously I had a certain degree of optimism, as I did have my hopes after last season. It was a very good evening.
Back in 2011 did you think you might still finish your career on such a high note?
No! And my players didn’t necessarily believe we’d have such a fantastic season after losing the Champions League final to Chelsea at the Allianz Arena in 2012. As you’d expect our confidence was a little shaken. But in the build-up to the Ballon d'Or one of the players sent me a text saying I was the first to bounce back and lead from the front, that I’d pushed and motivated the team and picked them up again. And that’s how it was. I knew there was incredible potential in the team, and the players went out and proved it in the course of last year.