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Flying high

On-song Ribéry ‘feeling better all the time’

The impression suggests it, and the data confirm it: Franck Ribéry is nearly back to his awesome best. Since his comeback from injury six weeks ago, the German and French Footballer of the Year has made nine appearances, contributing to Bayern goals in each of the last four, with an assist, an earned penalty, and three goals of his own against Fiorentina, Wolfsburg, Frankfurt and Bielefeld.

“I’m feeling better all the time, in my legs, my head, and out on the field,” the player himself confided. He described his form as ‘85 percent’ a week ago, “but I don’t know if it’s 100 percent yet,” he said on Tuesday with the smile of a man who knows he’s on the up. has examined the reasons behind Franck’s resurgence:

The situation looked grim when Ribéry was stretchered from the field at Euro 2008 in mid-May, but fortunately he had not broken a bone or seriously damaged a knee. The damaged ankle ligaments which were the cause of his discomfort have now fully recovered. “The pain’s gone,” he confirms. His confidence has returned too: he rode out heavy tackles to the previously injured foot against both Bielefeld and Frankfurt. “I’m not afraid,” he insists.

Ribery’s enforced three-month absence from the training ground and football pitch caused his feet to itch. “I could hardly wait,” he revealed shortly after his comeback, and his euphoric enjoyment of the game has been evident ever since. “I really look forward to playing and giving the fans something to cheer,” he says.