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Ribéry ruled out of World Cup

Persistent back problems have forced Bayern star Franck Ribéry to withdraw from the France squad for the World Cup in Brazil. The bitter blow for Europe’s Footballer of the Year was announced by the French FA on its official website on Friday afternoon. Ribéry broke off a national team training session on Friday morning and was taken to hospital in Rambouillet for a medical. “He was in too much pain,” coach Didier Deschamps was quoted as saying. “He won’t be able to train for a few weeks, let alone complete a match.”

Neuer brings smiles to kids’ faces

Manuel Neuer has been in no position to get the fans on their feet with breathtaking saves prior to the Germany squad’s departure for the World Cup in Brazil. However, the keeper is well on the road to recovery from injury and spent part of Friday bringing smiles to kids’ faces. A few hours prior to kick-off in a friendly between the Germans and Armenia in Mainz, the World’s Best Goalkeeper joined national goalkeeping coach Andreas Köpke at an event organized by an football charity on the banks of the Rhine, taking delivery of a giant football symbolising best wishes to the national team for their trip to South America. Köpke and Neuer signed autographs on t-shirts, Germany replica kit and even a few bare arms, and posed for snaps with national team mascot Paule.