Berlin: French winger Franck Ribery admits he was delighted to take part in team training at Bayern Munich on Wednesday for the first time after nearly nine months out with injury.
Franck Ribery. Pic/AFP
"It's a super day for me and very emotional," said Ribery after 264 days out with the persistent ankle injury he suffered on March 11. The 32-year-old hopes to make his comeback on December 12 in a league game at Bavarian neighbours Ingolstadt. But this Saturday's key clash against fourth-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach or next Wednesday's Champions League game at Dinamo Zagreb are definitely too soon.
"It was the first long injury of my career and was a difficult situation for me," he said after taking part in sprints, passing and shooting exercises. "But that's football and that's life, it's important to always keep your head up and to work hard.
"It's a good feeling to be back in the team. "I have felt much better in the last two weeks, I can do anything with the ball." Ribery last wore the famous red shirt in Bayern's 7-1 drubbing of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League in March when he came off with an inflamed ankle.
The injury only started to improve in October when he returned to individual training and even used a special anti-gravity running machine, the type developed by NASA to train astronauts, during his rehabilitation. In his absence, France Under-21 winger Kingsley Coman has cemented his place on Bayern's left flank and Ribery faces a fight to get his place back when fully fit.
There was more good news on Wednesday as Spain midfielder Thaigo says he hopes to play again this year after fears he would miss the rest of 2015 with a knee injury. "It's perfect, I feel good after two weeks and hope to be able to train next week with the team," said the midfielder.
The 24-year-old injured his right knee in Spain's 2-0 win over England in November. Bayern have five games left this year including their German Cup third round match at home to Darmstadt on December 15, four days before their final league game at Hanover before the winter break.