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Ribéry raring to go

‘I’ve lots of energy and want to win the lot’

Oui, oui, Franck Ribéry speaks German these days. He effortlessly dealt with media questions in the local language on Wednesday, only turning to his otherwise under-employed translator on a couple of occasions. Even then, he fundamentally understood what had been put to him. A new, refreshed Franck Ribéry faced the press today. That's clear from his performance on the pitch and training ground too.

Ribéry is a bundle of energy at present, running, dribbling, shooting and crossing, in last Monday’s DFB Cup clash with Windeck, and prior to that in the Beckenbauer testimonial meeting with Real Madrid. The 27-year-old stood out as one of Bayern’s most inventive players in both games, and although not everything he tried came off, he never at any stage looked like giving up.

As for training, the coaching staff have quietly revealed they have never seen the player put in quite as much hard work. “Some days, I’m not really up for it. I’m tired or I have aches and pains. But then I come here, put a smile on my face, and get on with my work,” he himself related.

Ribery is inspired by a new spirit of endeavour and desire. “I have lots of energy, and I want this to be a great season,” he said, “because last season was a tough one for me.” A stubborn knee problem kept him out of much of the first half of the campaign, and the rest of the season was patchy due to a string of minor injuries. To cap it all, he missed the Champions League final with suspension.