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'A great day'

Ribéry resumes squad programme

Franck Ribéry has not been able to do what he loves for 264 days, or almost nine months: playing football. His ankle hurt. Sometimes it was a little better, hopes and excitement rose – then it got worse again. A full training load was out of he question. A frustrating time for Ribéry. But the Frenchman can afford to smile again: in October the therapy finally began to work, and things improved little by little. The preliminary highlight: Ribéry's return to the squad programme on Wednesday morning!

“It's a great day for me, it's very emotional,” Ribéry told straight after the session. “It's been the first injury that's kept me sidelined for so long, a tough time. But that's football, that's life. It's important to keep your head up and work hard. Now I'm back with the team, a good feeling!”

Onlooker for the practice match

The 32-year-old winger took his first steps in training on Wednesday at 11 am, watched by his wife Wahiba, his brother Steeven and his cousin Matthieu. After the warm-up Ribéry joined his team-mates in the 'rondo' ball retention exercises and completed sprints and shooting practice. He skipped the practice match though. “Everybody was pleased for me,” revealed Ribéry, “it was fun.”

Ribéry's last appearance for FC Bayern dates back to 11 March, a 7-0 thrashing of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. Ribéry twisted his ankle and had to be substituted after 58 minutes. So began a long spell on the sidelines. Now, the 32-year-old hopes to return to playing before the winter break.