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'I'm much better'

Ribéry making progress, feeling 'very, very good'

When his team-mates were almost done Franck Ribéry began to work. But the Frenchman was happy, high-fiving every one of his team-mates and running his laps, focused but satisfied. “I'm much better,” he exclusively told FCB.tv after his session on an autumn day that felt like spring, “of course I'm not back at 100 percent, but I work hard every day.”

Thursday was no exception. Besides a gruelling programme of sprints the Frenchman completed coordination exercises and carefully took shots at small goals under the auspices of Dr Andreas Schlumberger. Ribéry's wife accompanied him and watched him work out at the Säbener Strasse facility, as did many fans – a source of real strength to the player as he seeks to make his way back.

'Bayern are like a family'

“Everybody knows I have a special relationship with the fans,” reported Ribéry, “we have lots of fun together, they come here, I gladly take my time for them. It's always nice.” The 32-year-old hopes he will be able to “do more with the ball” next week. He is not yet ready for the squad programme, but “I'm feeling very, very good and I’m very, very pleased.”

The crowd hero was moved when Holger Badstuber took his first steps back onto the Allianz Arena turf last weekend. “It was super, beautiful. That's Bayern Munich! As I always say, Bayern are like a family.” The Frenchman hopes for a similar end to his own long spell on the sidelines: “I miss this feeling. But I must train well. I hope I'll be back soon and have fun with the fans.”