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Warm reception

Prodigal son Ribéry back on familiar turf

Franck Ribéry is a crowd hero in Munich, just as he was in Marseille, where he played from 2005 to 2007 before switching to Bundesliga giants Bayern. The player is back at Stade Velodrome as an FCB star on Wednesday evening, and it will be an emotional return to his former stamping ground. “I really don't know what to expect from the fans," Franck confessed.

On arrival in the Mediterranean coastal region, Ribéry was certainly the centre of attention. At the airport, in the hotel and at the press conference, fellow Frenchman flocked to greet their prodigal son. “I wasn't surprised by the warm reception," the winger stated, “people here know I always gave 100 percent for Marseille."

The 28-year-old left Turkish club Galatasaray on a free transfer in 2005 and joined OM, where his career really took off. His personal triumphs over the following two seasons make heady reading, as he was named Best Young Player of 2005/06 and Best Player in the French league in 2006. He was also named Player of the Month three times, in October and November 2005 and in April 2006. He also reached the French cup final twice with Olympique, before setting off for Munich in mid-2007 as a league runner-up.