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Superstar's signature signals Bavarian intent

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Superstar's signature signals Bavarian intent

Postby FCBayernNews » Mon May 24, 2010 5:45 pm

Franck Ribéry was the centre of attention during Sunday's motorcade to the Marienplatz, as countless fans leapt forward to greet, embrace and hail their hero. The Frenchman cheerfully signed all the t-shirts, replica jerseys, caps and souvenirs thrust in his direction. The big news had been officially announced by in the morning, but when Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed it from the Town Hall balcony, the raprure knew no bounds.

"On Saturday, our friend Franck signed a new contract keeping him with us until 2015," said Rummenigge, the France star on his arm. "Ribéry, Ribéry, Ribéry," the thousands of fans chanted, interrupting the chairman time and again. Bayern were unable to bring the Champions league trophy back with them from Madrid, but the spectacular transfer tidings swept away the last vestiges of sadness for almost all the faithful.

Love and affection

Ribéry the took the microphone and addressed the crowd, opting to speak in German. "I've agreed to stay five more years," he said in accented but perfectly comprehensible German. "It's been a tough season with my knee injury. But the team and the fans have supported me and that's important for me mentally. I love all Bayern fans. Thank you very much!"

Ribéry, who arrived three years ago from Marseille for a then record €25m but missed the final in Madrid with suspension, has inked an extension to his contract and will play for Bayern until 30 June 2015. "The main reason I'm staying is the family nature of the club, and because of the fans who chant my name," he said later on TV: "I'm delighted."

Staying in the family

Ribéry has turned down inviting offers from all over Europe to remain part of the FCB family. "It's simple: he feels good, so it's a good choice to stay here," commented Arjen Robben. Naturally, Ribéry's deal is a good one. "Good players have to be well paid, because at the end of the day, they're the reason we take in money," said Rummenigge: "Our aim is not just to keep this team together, but to make it even stronger and better."

The Bayern boss regards Ribery's decision as a symbol "for Bayern's ambitious targets in the coming years." Munich are determined to succeed in their pursuit of the biggest prize in European club football, and German FA director of sport Matthias Sammer thinks they are well-placed: "I think Bayern are just starting to develop a new team structure. A number of players have their best years still to come."

Taking the next step

Apart from Jörg Butt (35), Mark van Bommel (33), Daniel van Buyten (32) and Ivica Olic (30), all the regulars in the second half of the season are in their early to mid-twenties. Ribéry (27) and Robben (26) still have plenty of time left at the highest level, Germany pair Philipp Lahm (26) and Bastian Schweinsteiger (25) have just enjoyed best-ever seasons at the club, while the only way is up for Thomas Müller (20), Holger Badstuber (21) and Diego Contento (20). And as of the summer, Toni Kroos (21) will be back in the squad.

"We're not in a process of rebuilding, quite the opposite," observed director of sport Christian Nerlinger. "The majority of the team is staying, so I'm optimistic about us taking the next step in the new season." Nor will there be a settling-in period under a new coach. Schweinsteiger for one is convinced: "We can win things with this team. And we'll stick together until we've won the Champions League."
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