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Special relationship

Ribéry ‘delighted’ with new record

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After the final whistle on Saturday, the Bayern faithful serenaded Franck Ribéry for minutes on end, as the Frenchman had scored yet another crucial goal to seal a hard earned victory over Leverkusen. “It was an important goal,” chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge later confirmed, and it was personally significant for Ribéry too: his 51st minute volley was his 100th goal in Munich's famous red shirt.

“It's a good goal for me, but especially for the team,” a visibly pleased Ribéry stated afterwards. The player has always had a special relationship with the Allianz Arena fans. “It's been like this ever since I arrived and I hope it continues,” Franck commented. The 31-year-old made no secret of his delight on a special afternoon for him: “I'm so happy!”

The 2013 Best Player in Europe contributed far more than simply the match-winning goal. The Leverkusen clash was his 186th Bundesliga appearance, taking him past ex-Stuttgart defender Matthieu Delpierre (185) in the ranking of French players in the German top flight. Ribéry had already overtaken former FCB heroes Willy Sagnol (184) and Bixente Lizarazu (183) over the last few weeks. “Hats off to him,” agreed Rummenigge.

‘He’s not done yet’

“Franck has his place in the history of this club,” commented Pep Guardiola, “he's one of the best non-German players in Bayern's history.” The coach singled out the wide player for being “fit” and “aggressive, both in attack and defence.” Mehdi Benatia praised Franck's total commitment to the team: “He's capable of making the difference in attack, but he's not above putting in a defensive shift for the team.”

The Frenchman swiftly returned the compliment. “We’re a good team and the mood is excellent. My team-mates are superb, we're always together and always want to win,” said Ribéry, who revealed a little secret: what exactly did Rafinha whisper in his ear after the goal? “He said: je t'aime [I love you],” Franck laughed,”so I replied: je t‘aime.” Benatia is absolutely certain there is much more to come from the close relationship between Ribéry and FC Bayern: “He's not done yet by any means.”