The France winger scored the game's only goal six minutes into the second half to break Bayer Leverkusen's resistance and restore the champions' seven-point cushion at the summit of the Bundesliga.
In turning out the Allianz Arena on Saturday, Ribery also became the Frenchman with the most German top-flight appearances to his name.
And Guardiola heaped praise on the 31-year-old, who, along with fellow wideman Arjen Robben, also had to show his defensive resolve in a first half where Leverkusen looked threatening.
"He is one of the best foreign players to ever play for this club," the Spaniard said.
"They [Ribery and Robben] are primarily attackers but did their defensive duties well.
"The supporters maybe expected us to score two, three or four goals, but I knew that it would difficult."
The victory was Bayern's 10th in a row at home in the league and Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt added: "Congratulations to Pep and his team. They deserved to win."
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