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Declaration of affection

Superstar’s signature signals Bavarian intent

Franck Ribéry was the centre of attention during Sunday’s motorcade to the Marienplatz, as countless fans leapt forward to greet, embrace and hail their hero. The Frenchman cheerfully signed all the t-shirts, replica jerseys, caps and souvenirs thrust in his direction. The big news had been officially announced by in the morning, but when Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed it from the Town Hall balcony, the raprure knew no bounds.

“On Saturday, our friend Franck signed a new contract keeping him with us until 2015,” said Rummenigge, the France star on his arm. “Ribéry, Ribéry, Ribéry,” the thousands of fans chanted, interrupting the chairman time and again. Bayern were unable to bring the Champions league trophy back with them from Madrid, but the spectacular transfer tidings swept away the last vestiges of sadness for almost all the faithful.

Love and affection

Ribéry the took the microphone and addressed the crowd, opting to speak in German. “I’ve agreed to stay five more years,” he said in accented but perfectly comprehensible German. “It's been a tough season with my knee injury. But the team and the fans have supported me and that’s important for me mentally. I love all Bayern fans. Thank you very much!"

Ribéry, who arrived three years ago from Marseille for a then record €25m but missed the final in Madrid with suspension, has inked an extension to his contract and will play for Bayern until 30 June 2015. “The main reason I’m staying is the family nature of the club, and because of the fans who chant my name,” he said later on TV: “I’m delighted."