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Now in his ninth season at the Allianz Arena, the Frenchman sat down with bundesliga.com for an exclusive interview on his remaining ambitions in Bavaria…
bundesliga.com: After nine years at FC Bayern München, you are now one of their longest-serving players. Only Philipp Lahm, Holger Badstuber and Thomas Müller have been there longer. What does the club mean to you?
Franck Ribery: Bayern will always be a special club for me. Over the years, I have had many offers, but Bayern have rejected them, and today I am very happy that a change for either side is out of the question. I remember that the club always stood by me, even in bad times or when I was injured. You do not find this everywhere.
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bundesliga.com: It must have been difficult being injured for 11 months and unable to play. How have you overcome the injury?
Ribery: That was hard for me. If you cannot play and train, you feel lonely. You sit on the exercise bike and watch your teammates outside on the field. Of course, I wanted to get back. I have worked hard for it. Even now after long odds.
bundesliga.com: Fans are talking a lot about the UEFA Champions League. How important is it for you and Bayern to win a fourth Bundesliga title in a row?
Ribery: You always want to win the Champions League, clearly, but there many clubs in the competition who rank among the favourites. However, we cannot forget that this would be a fourth Bundesliga title in a row. This is very important for us. It would be the first time a club has managed that. Even saying that out loud: a fourth German title - it would feel like a big achievement.
bundesliga.com: What does it mean for the team that coach Pep Guardiola is leaving at the end of season?
Ribery: Honestly? It is impossible to imagine the team without him. Our sole intention between now and the end of the season is to pull in the same direction. Right now we are in the final stretch of the season, next season does not matter. We are still in every competition and we approach this with full concentration. That's what counts.
bundesliga.com: Last season, FC Barcelona proved too strong against Bayern in the Champions League semi-finals. Have things changed this season?
Ribery: If we have all hands on deck, we are a strong team that can achieve a lot. No club in the world can replace as many injured players as we had last season. Now Javier Martinez and Jerome Boateng are back on the right track. With them we are even stronger.
bundesliga.com: Meanwhile, the squad has been strengthened with new signings. With the greater competition, do you worry that you might lose your starting place?
Ribery: No player can play every game, there are too many. None of us are machines. We are human. At this level, the competition for places is always fierce, so I can deal with it well. I know what I bring to the team. I have confidence in my ability.
bundesliga.com: How far along your road to recovery are you?
Ribery: I am nearly at 100 per cent. I have had more and more minutes, which has helped me a lot. Now it is time to to put together a run of games. Then automatically you recover what has been missing as a player.
Interview by Oliver Trust