Football: Emotional Ribery set for Bayern return after playing career

Ribery celebrates scoring for Bayern against Hannover 96 on May 4, 2019.. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (AFP) - Franck Ribery said Tuesday (May 7) he hopes to return to Bayern Munich once his playing career is over, as he prepares to end 12 years at the club.

Ribery, 36, confirmed last weekend that he would not extend his Bayern contract beyond this summer, ending a record-breaking playing career at the Bundesliga giants.

At an emotional press conference in Munich on Tuesday, the Frenchman said he hoped to continue playing for another one or two years before returning to Munich after retirement.

"I still don't know what I will do next season, there are a few options," he said.

"I will play for one or two more years and then I am 100 per cent sure I will come back to Munich."

Asked whether he would take up a specific role at Bayern, Ribery said that it was something he had discussed with the club hierarchy.

"We talked for a long time about it," he said. "We will have to wait, but the important thing is I am always at home here."

In December, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said he could imagine Ribery taking up a role after his career.

"Franck is someone who has shaped an era here, so I would be happy to see him stay in the club (after retirement)," he said.

Ribery said that it would be difficult for him to leave Bayern after 12 years of service.

"It is not easy, I have experienced and won so much with Bayern," he said.

The veteran winger, who has been linked with clubs in Australia and Qatar, said he was undecided as to where he would go next.

"I have to go where I can bring my family. I can't leave them alone because we are a group and there are a lot of us."

Ribery, who has won 22 titles with Bayern and could claim a record ninth Bundesliga title this season, is expected to be given a roaring send-off when Bayern face Eintracht Frankfurt at the Allianz Arena on the last day of the season.

"I always had an unbelievable relationship with the fans and they always stood by me, even in the difficult times."

Ribery, whose fellow Bayern stalwart Arjen Robben will also leave at the end of this season, said that the highlight of his Bayern career was winning the Champions League in 2013.

"What we did in 2013 was crazy, a dream," he said.

He also ranked treble-winning boss Jupp Heynckes above Pep Guardiola as the most important coach of his Bayern career.

"There were lots of good coaches, but Jupp was a very important person for my life and my career," he said.

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