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Laporta issues denial

Franck Ribéry not a target for Barcelona

Franck Ribéry’s future at Bayern has been cast in doubt by a host of speculative stories in the German and world sporting press recently. The player himself reacted angrily to the rumours a few days ago: “There’s nothing going on. These questions have been bothering me for a while, and they’re draining me of my energy.” In a news agency interview, FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has now set out the facts.

Interview: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

Question: Franck Ribéry has been repeatedly linked with leading foreign clubs such as Barcelona in recent days. Are you concerned?
Rummenigge: “I think a few people are pursuing their own agendas here. My friend Joan Laporta, the president of Barcelona, contacted me immediately in response to all the speculation. He assured me and Bayern Munich that there’s nothing, and I repeat nothing, to these stories. Neither the player, nor his agent, nor anyone else has been contacted by Barcelona."

Question: So why are the rumours so persistent?
Rummenigge: “Franck has responded completely correctly and above board to the whole thing. He’s displeased that domestic and foreign media keep misusing him just to create headlines. He wants to return to focusing exclusively on his goals with Bayern. These are and remain the German championship, the DFB Cup, and the Champions League.”

Question: Barcelona’s reported interest in Ribéry supposedly surfaced in a radio interview with the player’s agent.
Rummenigge: “Two weeks ago, Real Madrid were apparently Franck’s dream club. Now, with Real on the verge of failing to survive the Champions League last sixteen for the fifth time in a row [after Real lost 1-0 at home to Liverpool in the first leg], Real are suddenly no longer the topic of conversation. Overnight, the debate’s headed off in a different direction. Do you see a pattern?”

Question: So Franck Ribéry is staying at Bayern?
Rummenigge: “Yes. The facts provide the answer to that question. Franck Ribéry has a contract with us until 30 June 2011, and we’re not willing to release him before than. Not for all the money in the world.”