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Watch out England: Ribery feeling back to his best after breaking goal drought

The Bayern Munich and France midfielder has set his sights on Roy Hodgson’s men after returning to goal-scoring ways.

Ribery scored against Iceland in a weekend friendly.
Ribery scored against Iceland in a weekend friendly.
Image: (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

FRANCE MIDFIELDER FRANCK RIBERY feels like a man liberated after scoring his first international goal in three years in France’s 3-2 friendly win against Iceland here.

The 29-year-old has been unable to transfer his form with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich to the national team, but his 85th minute goal on Sunday has rekindled his ambitions ahead of Euro 2012.

“This really lifts me and those close to me,” said Ribery, who will be appearing in his fourth major finals.

“It’s been three years since I’ve scored for France. It was becoming difficult to have to justify myself, people were asking questons.” Ribery added:

Yesterday I was really liberated, very happy, very satisfied.

But that doesn’t surprise me because what I did yesterday I’ve done for an entire year with Bayern and couldn’t manage to reproduce it with France, I don’t know why.

“I hope that this time I’m back on track again.”

Where is the love?

He explained that part of the problem was that be feels unloved in his native country.

“Recently with the France team I haven’t been relaxed, able to let go, always being criticised,” said Ribery, who was nevertheless cheered when he replaced Yoan Gourcuff, who was booed off the pitch, in the 75th minute. He added:

There comes a time when you begin to ask yourself what you should do. It’s been a long time since my name has rung out in a French stadium.

“I hope that this is the trigger. When the public calls out my name, that gives me even more confidence to try things, to score, to dribble. These are things that I’d lost. I’m loved at Bayern.”

Forgetting Munich

Ribery said he had put the Champions League final defeat on penalties to Chelsea behind him.

“It’s better now. It was difficult for three or four days because it was a mad scenario. We had a perfect match, we were at home, we had chances and we didn’t score. It’s a pity, we deserved this title.”

However he dismissed suggestions there would be a feeling of revenge against England when France play their old foes on June 11 in the European championship.

“The important thing is to take the three points. Playing against the English or Ukraine, it’s the same thing. We have to win, it’s as simple as that.”

- © AFP, 2012

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