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‘I’m over the moon’

Green light at last for Willy Sagnol

Willy Sagnol has spoken very little in public for many months, but on Friday the France full-back convened an unplanned news conference to make an important announcement. “I’ll be playing again very soon,“ he declared, “and I’m over the moon about it.“

Sagnol has waited a long time for that moment. In a 2-2 Champions League draw away to AC Milan back in April, he badly damaged the meniscus and cartilage in his right knee. The four-month lay-off estimated at the time has grown into seven frustrating months on the sidelines.

’I’m 80 percent of the way there’

“It’s not been an easy seven months,” he confessed, revealing a sense of anguish in September and October as he feared his playing days might be over “The knee was still hurting, but it’s all fine again now,“ he declared, thanking the Bayern medical unit and Dr. Philippe Boixel, official osteopath to the French national team. “They’re the reason I can play football again.”

Club medical chief Dr Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt cleared Sagnol to resume training ten days ago. His aim now is to recover fitness and amass match practice. “I’m 80 percent of the way there. Matches will give me the missing 20 percent,“ commented the 30-year-old, who has pursued a special tailored programme since early October. “I’m now approaching the end of this four or five week schedule.”

Rejoining the squad

The individual programme has paid off, according to the Omega Wave system used by Ottmar Hitzfeld to check on his players’ performance ratings. Sagnol has recorded some fine results recently. “The machine’s given me the green light too,“ he reported with a grin. Willy intends to play a full part in the squad sessions from next week onwards.

Sagnol is determined to appear for the senior side before Christmas, and would happily pick up match sharpness in the reserves, although he is prepared to wait until the time is right. “They’re not at home for another two weeks, and an away game might be too much of a risk for the knee.“ But he concluded with his new mantra: “I’m over the moon.“