If defenders in the Bundesliga and beyond have been secretly rejoicing at the prospect of Bayern Munich's 35-year-old winger Franck Ribery retiring some time soon, they will have to think again.
The veteran attacker, who has been at the record German champions since July 2007, recently signed a contract extension to keep him at the club until the end of the 2018/19 season, but Ribery is envisaging continuing well beyond that.
"I want to play until I'm 38," he said in an interview with kicker. "I could well imagine myself doing that." Nevertheless, he is aware that "it would be crazy" for him to feature in every game, and the Frenchman believes new coach Niko Kovac is the right man to dose his appearances.
"Things are great with [him]," said Ribery, who started Bayern's first two Bundesliga matches of the campaign, but was an unused substitute in the 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Matchday 3. "He takes me to one side and explains the situation. I've got no problem with it at all. He knows exactly how much game time to give me.
"When I get along with someone, then they can count on me," Ribery continued. "For me, communication is the most important thing. There are things you have to talk about."
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In addition to his positive personal relationship with Kovac, Ribery believes his new boss is perfectly suited to the Allianz Arena hotseat.
"Niko's got the personality to coach a big team," said the Bayern No.7. "He's got great qualities. You can see that in the way he leads us and talks to us. He's analysed all the players' personalities in the team, knows how they tick and how he can get through to them. That's priceless."
When the day eventually arrives for Ribery to hang up his boots, he has not ruled out continuing at Bayern in a different capacity: "This club is my family. I might well come back here."