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Trip down memory lane

Ribéry and Dante return to former club

Franck Ribéry had hardly set foot on French soil at lunchtime on Monday before he was surrounded by adoring airport staff, taking snapshots and begging for autographs. The Monsieur from Munich is on another return visit to his home country as a club player, something which has become an annual event recently: in 2009 he travelled with Bayern to Bordeaux, in 2010 he visited Lyon, and last season he was back in Marseille. On this occasion, the Bavarians’ Champions League travels take them to Lille in the north of France. It is a trip down memory lane both for the winger and for Brazilian defender Dante.

That's because Lille was the centre-back’s first club in Europe. He arrived in January 2004, direct from sunny South America to the chill of the northern French winter. And Ribéry, whose hometown of Boulogne is only 100 km away, also spent a career-defining period with LOSC: the France international attended Lille's youth academy as a 13 to 16-year-old before returning home to Boulogne.