Franck Ribéry has vowed to make amends for a "terrible year" ahead of his first game for France since the infamous World Cup player mutiny, though saying he regretted the way the media had treated him.
REUTERS - Franck Ribery, back in the France squad for the first time since the player mutiny at the World Cup in South Africa, said he lost his way in 2010 in what had been a "terrible year" for the winger.
Ribery was banned for three matches after France players refused to train during last year's ill-fated World Cup campaign when now-banished striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home for insulting former coach Raymond Domenech.
"I have learnt a lot," Ribery, recalled to face Luxembourg in a Euro 2012 qualifier and Croatia in a friendly, told a news conference on Monday.
'I am glad to be here'
A few minutes before facing reporters, Ribery handed out a statement stating he wanted to "stop talking about the past". "I lost my way," the statement read. "I had a terrible year." Ribery and fellow World Cup rebel Patrice Evra were recalled by France coach Laurent Blanc against the wishes of the country's sports minister Chantal Jouanno who reiterated her wish that the pair remain excluded.
Ribery gave her views short shrift on Monday, snapping back: "She can say what she wants, Blanc is the coach." The Bayern Munich player was also asked about his relationship with France team mate Yoann Gourcuff.
French media reported last year that Ribery had bullied Gourcuff during the dismal World Cup finals campaign in which France exited at the first round stage.
"I have never had a problem with Gourcuff. I did not like that I was being portrayed as the bad guy and him as the poor one," he said. "I would have liked him to print a denial." Ribery still faces months of uncertainty after he was last year placed under judicial investigation on suspicion of soliciting sex with an under-age prostitute.
Ribery said he had not been fairly treated by French media. "Some things that were written did hurt me. You hurt a lot of people, especially my wife," he said. France travel to Luxembourg on Friday for a Euro 2012 qualifier before hosting Croatia in a friendly next Tuesday.
Date created : 2011-03-22