Franck Ribery is having fun at FC Bayern München's winter training camp in Qatar after a sixth day in the Gulf state.
The ex-France international may now be 33, but has retained the boyish enthusiasm he has shown at Bayern since his arrival from Marseille in 2007, and is loving every second of sweating under the Doha sun. "The atmosphere is good. We're motivated. And it's sunny. I'm enjoying myself when I'm out there on the pitch," Ribery told media at one of Bayern's daily briefings. "The coach and his staff have put together a great programme. But it's very difficult, with a lot of intensity."
Though the Rückrunde start is looming, the Bayern squad cannot help but let their thoughts stray towards their UEFA Champions League Last 16 tie against Arsenal FC. Though the first leg at the Allianz Arena is not until 14 February, Ribery acknowledged the key role the winter training camp could play in the two-legged encounter with the Premier League side. "We have to be 100 per cent fit, otherwise we don't stand a chance," he said. "It's very important to have a good training camp."
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will not be in Doha for Day 7 as the Bayern number one will fly to Zürich for The Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday. The 30-year-old Germany international will then travel directly to Munich and train there while the rest of the team remains in Qatar until 11 January.