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Ribéry aiming high

Banned for France but fired up for Bayern

A French Football Association (FFF) disciplinary committee has suspended Franck Ribéry for three international matches. A total of four France internationals were penalised at a hearing in Paris on Tuesday, for which Bayern declined to release Ribéry to attend in person. The disciplinary action forms part of the FFF’s response to events at the World Cup in South Africa, where France were eliminated at the group stage amid chaos and recrimination, sparked by Nicolas Anelka being turfed out of the squad and sent home, which in turn prompted a training boycott by the other players.

The most severe punishment was reserved for Chelsea striker Anelka, the man held responsible for initiating the entire chain of events. The 31-year-old was suspended for 18 matches, and would only be eligible to represent his country again in two years’ time, should he still make himself available for selection. Patrice Evra (Manchester United) received a five-match ban, and Jérémy Toulalan (Olympique Lyon) a one-game suspension.

Ribery fired up for Bayern duty

In Ribéry’s case, the ban means he will miss France’s European championship qualifiers against Belarus (3 September) and away to Bosnia Herzegovina (7 September). In common with the entire 23-strong French World Cup squad, Ribéry was not nominated for last week’s friendly away to Norway. The FCB winger will next be eligible to appear for the French on 9 October, when they meet Romania in EURO 2012 qualifying.

Until then, the player is free to concentrate fully on his job with Bayern. The 27-year-old says he is determined to enjoy a profitable season this time round. “I want to be 100 percent fit this term, and play every match. I want it to be a great season – for me, for the club, and for all our fans,” he said on Tuesday in an interview with sports TV channel Sport1.

Ready for Wolfsburg

Ribéry says he is now on the same wavelength as FCB boss Louis van Gaal. “It was hard for me with the coach at first. I didn’t understand his philosophy,” admitted Ribéry, “but it’s different now. I understand the coach and need his faith in me. He wants us to have a great season with me involved, and that’s good for me.”

Following the World Cup, Ribéry was sidelined for a spell after undergoing groin surgery, but he is now ready for Friday’s Bundesliga restart against VfL Wolfsburg. “I’ve trained and worked hard after my operation,” the Frenchman reported. Ribery completed an hour of last Friday’s Beckenbauer testimonial against Real Madrid, and was a lively presence for the first 75 minutes of Monday’s DFB Cup first round meeting with Germania Windeck.