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The flying Frenchman

Ribéry: I did it on an impulse

To come to a proper verdict on Franck Ribéry’s performance, it’s imperative to appreciate the vital statistics in the case: The Frenchman is a lightweight at 1.70 m and 72 kilos, compared to Louis van Gaal’s much bulkier stature at 1.87 m and 97 kilos. However, Ribéry still came close to flooring his coach on Saturday. After netting a sublime free-kick to make the score 3-1 to Bayern in Dortmund, the winger raced over to the FCB dugout, leapt high in the air, and landed in Van Gaal’s arms. “I always like it when a playing chooses to celebrate a goal with me,” Van Gaal explained later, “but I only just managed to stay on my feet.”

Indeed, the Dutchman wobbled but never went down. “He’s fit,” Ribéry grinned, explaining why he embraced the coach after scoring. “It wasn’t planned, I just did it on an impulse,” he said, revealing a deep sense of frustration at the events of the preceding weeks. The player was hampered by a string of minor injuries to his knee, groin and shin, and had to endure media speculation questioning his relationship with Van Gaal.