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Happy Ribery hints at extending Bayern stay

SoccerNews in Bundesliga, Ligue 1 13 Sep 2009

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Despite being heavily courted by Real Madrid last summer, Bayern Munich midfielder Franck Ribery on Sunday hinted he was ready to extend his contract and stay in Bavaria beyond 2011.

The 26-year-old had flirted with Real but with the potential of a partnership alongside Bayern’s new-signing Arjen Robben and having scored in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Dortmund, Ribery seems to want to stay.

“The club will already have an idea and I also have an idea,” said the Frenchman who is under contract in Munich until 2011.

“In football, these things can often happen very fast.

“It only takes a small meeting and then the decision is made.”

His comments show a clear change of heart as at the start of the month Ribery told French sports daily L’Equipe there were communication problems between him and Bayern coach Louis van Gaal who took over in the summer.

Ribery, a transfer target for several top clubs in the close season including Real, even said he preferred former Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

“It’s the first time that I haven’t really felt close to a coach. There’s not much feeling between us at all,” Ribery told L’Equipe when asked about van Gaal.

But having come off the bench after half-time against Dortmund on Saturday, Ribery drilled home a free-kick to put Bayern 3-1 up and leapt into the arms of van Gaal after the ball hit the net in the 65th minute.

“I am always pleased, if a player celebrates his goal with me,” said van Gaal.

“But it was very difficult to remain upright,” said the Dutchman after Ribery almost knocked him over in his enthusiasm to celebrate his goal.

“He is fit,” grinned Ribery.

“That was not planned, it was simply a spur of the moment thing.”

And Ribery insists any problems he had with the coach are now behind him.

“At the beginning, I did not know the coach,” admitted the Frenchman.

“He has his own character and makes many demands, but there was never a problem between us.

“He has his ways as a coach, he is very intelligent and has lots of experience.

“At the beginning, it was very hard.

“The coach has his own philosophy, which I found difficult at first.

“We needed time in order to get accustomed to each other and we are starting to see the rewards of that patience.”

Having made a slow start to the season after a succession of leg injuries, Ribery has been mainly used off the bench both for Bayern and France so far this season and van Gaal said he is aiming to give him match fitness.

“Franck is not 100 per cent fit yet, I know that and Franck knows that – the media may have another opinion,” explained the Dutchman.

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