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The Franck of old

Ribéry well on course to recovering form

He was there again on Thursday, the man in the dark, padded winter jacket, closely following the lunchtime training session. And he was still there for the afternoon news conference addressed by Franck Ribéry. He is a familiar figure at the Säbener Strasse, but his fame spread to a much wider audience on Wednesday evening, because after netting the second in Bayern’s 3-0 victory over Basel, Ribéry ran over to the main stand and warmly embraced him.

So who is this man, practically a Ribéry look-alike? His brother? No, it is his cousin Mathieu, Ribéry explained, and the pair are very close. “We grew up together, and I’m always there for him,” said the Bayern star, telling of his cousin’s recent blow of fate: after already losing his father and brother, his mother died a month or so ago. “It's very hard for him at the moment,” said Ribéry, who has Mathieu staying with him for now.