Ribery: I was in advanced talks with Real Madrid

The Frenchman has revealed that a number of clubs were after him and he was actually on the verge of signing with the Santiago Bernabeu side at one point

Franck Ribery has revealed that he was close to leaving Bayern Munich for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009.

It’s no secret that the Blancos attempted to sign the ex-France international a number of years ago, but Ribery has now made it clear that a transfer was closer than any one might have expected.

“I went through a difficult period in 2009 when [Louis] van Gaal arrived at the club,” Ribery, who has a contract at the Allianz Arena until June 2017, told Sport Bild.

“Not just because I didn’t get along very well with Van Gaal, but also because a lot of clubs wanted me: Juventus, Inter, Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

“My agent and Real Madrid’s representatives had already held a number of talks. My wife told me that she was happy to move to Madrid if that was what I wanted to. Everything was ready to go.

“The situation is different now. She would ask me whether I’m crazy if I proposed a move.

“I was still a bit younger then and was shocked about all the interest. I didn’t know what to do and was on the verge of a transfer. I then had two or three meetings with Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and these were great. I will never forget those.”

Ribery, now 31, eventually stayed at Bayern where he has since won three Bundesliga titles, as many DFB Pokals, the Champions League and a Fifa Club World Cup trophy.

Inter-Dnipro Preview: Draw enough for Mancini's men

The Nerazzurri need only a point to progress to the last 32 but their new boss will be targeting a first win in his second stint at San Siro

Inter need just a draw on Thursday against Dnipro to seal Europa League progression from the group stage.

Despite their poor start to the league campaign – which saw Walter Mazzarri replaced by Roberto Mancini last week – Inter’s continental form has been good.

Two wins and two draws sees Inter sit four points clear at the top of Group F – with the remaining three teams only separated by goal difference.

Mancini’s first match in charge ended in a 1-1 derby draw with Milan on Sunday and defender Juan Jesus wants his side to build on the result.

“Thursday’s going to be a tough game,” he told Inter’s official website. “But we have to win it so that we can put the group stage to bed.”

A positive result would allow Inter to primarily focus on domestic matters ahead of matchday six – something that would be useful given the tactical changes Mancini has made.

The former Galatasaray boss has switched to a system of four defenders at the back, as opposed to the three employed by Mazzarri.

Of the recent adjustment, Juan said: “I think we did a pretty job [against Milan].

“We’re still not completely used to all the movements we have to make but the boss is helping us and it’ll come.

“I need to keep learning and improving myself so that I don’t make any mistakes at all.”

Inter needed a 61st-minute equaliser from Joel Obi to earn a point against Milan after Jeremy Menez’s early strike.

Both sides were denied by the woodwork in the latter stages of an entertaining contest, with Inter sitting ninth in the table as a result – already 14 points behind three-time defending champions Juventus.

Things are much smoother for Dnipro on the domestic front, although a 1-1 home draw against Hoverla on Saturday saw them drop three points behind leaders of the Ukraine top flight, Dynamo Kiev.

Dnipro are still second, however, and will be encouraged by the form of Croatian forward Nikola Kalinic, who has netted six goals in his last seven matches.

The Ukrainians, who took just one point from their first three pool matches, kept their campaign alive with a 2-1 win at Qarabag earlier this month.

It was no surprise that Kalinic scored both in that triumph but he was unable to affect the game as a late substitute in Dnipro’s 1-0 home loss to Inter in September.

Danilo D’Ambrosio scored the only goal of that match with just 19 minutes remaining. 

Inter and AC Milan's decline is sad – Ribery

With Bayern Munich having dispatched Roma 7-1 and 2-0 in the Champions League this week, the French winger believes Serie A’s struggles are reflected in two of their fallen giants

Franck Ribery admits it is “sad” to see Inter and AC Milan so far away from challenging amongst the elite of Europe.

Milan claimed their seventh Champions League title in 2007, while the Inter of Jose Mourinho completed an historic treble in 2010 by defeating Bayern in the final of the tournament.

Both clubs have been in substantial decline in the past two seasons, however, and the 1-1 draw in the derby on Sunday left Milan 13 points of Serie A leaders Juventus, with the Nerazzurri a futher point behind.

Ribery, whose Bayern side destroyed Roma 7-1 in Italy before a comfortable 2-0 win at the Allianz Arena in this season’s group stage, believes the dimished power of the Milan giants leaves Italian football in a disappointing state.

“Once your league was the most attractive,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport‘s weekly ‘ExtraTime’ magazine. “Everyone used to look towards it.

“Now, historic clubs like Milan and Inter are in difficulty. The league is associated more with Juve and Roma, two very strong teams.

“It’s sad to see the Milanese in this kind of situation, so far down the table and outside of Europe. It’s sad for the fans, for the league and for the very history of the club.

“As for the matches between ourselves and Roma, I will say they are a good team, but we’re stronger, we have international players with a lot of Champions League experience.

“Plus, we must acknowledge that we managed to score from every chance we had, which won’t always happen.”

Milan had the better chances, insists Galliani

The Rossoneri director felt his side deserved better, but is brimming with confidence ahead of a series of difficult games

AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani feels Filippo Inzaghi’s men got the better chances in Sunday’s Serie A encounter with rivals Inter and believes they deserved more than a 1-1 draw.

Jeremy Menez gave Milan the lead before the break, but Joel Obi levelled the scoring again after the interval to ensure the Derby della Madonnina ended all square.

“It was a balanced match, but we had the clearer chances. They also struck the bar through [Mauro] Icardi, but [Stephan] El Shaarawy’s chance was clearer,” Galliani told the official Milan website.

“What a shame about the last chance through [Andrea] Poli. If he had shot with his left foot, maybe it would have gone in. And then there was the crossbar by El Shaarawy.”

Irrespective of the two points lost, Galliani saw plenty of positives and is hopeful Milan can keep on growing in the weeks to come.

“We didn’t suffer that much. In defence, with respects to the start, we improved a lot. You can always concede one goal. It seems to me that we’re growing.

“Maybe tomorrow I will appreciate this point. Next Sunday we have an important match against Udinese and then we have Genoa, Napoli and Roma. From now until Christmas we have four sides in the top half of the table, we will have to be alert.”

Milan sit seventh in the Serie A table with 18 points from 12 games.

Milan need Torres to start scoring – Inzaghi

The Rossoneri boss is confident the striker can enjoy a watershed moment just as Hernan Crespo did under Carlo Ancelotti after his drought continued against Inter

Pippo Inzaghi admits AC Milan need Fernando Torres to find his goalscoring touch – but is confident it is simply a matter of time.

The 30-year-old has scored just once since his loan move from Chelsea in the summer and endured another frustrating night in the 1-1 draw against Inter on Sunday.

Inzaghi, however, believes Torres will quickly find a breakthrough in his scoring drought, pointing to another former Chelsea striker as proof of the virtue of patience.

“I believe Torres will soon get back on the scoresheet and I hope so, as we need his goals,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “I tried to improve the level of quality in attack with players like [Keisuke] Honda, [Jeremy] Menez, [Stephan] El Shaarawy and [Giacomo] Bonaventura to provide better service for him.

“I am trying to put the best team out to get the best out of him. He does well in training, but not every game goes the same way.

“Torres gives his all and I always use the example of Hernan Crespo. Carlo Ancelotti stuck with him when he didn’t score for two months, then when he made the breakthrough he never stopped scoring.”

Menez’s fine first-half strike was cancelled out by Joel Obi’s first ever Serie A goal on Sunday and Inzaghi admitted it was frustrating not to have seen out the win.

“It’s disappointing to have some clear chances and not win,” he said. “However, my team gave everything they had and it was a balanced game. Inter did well, too.

“Inter were pushing without making much of an impact, but they scored on our mistake. We know that we have to grow, but I believe the spirit, hunger and some of our moves were very good.

“The derby showed there are two teams who are works in progress, still under construction, and so there are going to be peaks and troughs.

“There was a change of coach, so that gave Inter new enthusiasm. Maybe there is a regret that we didn’t make more of our scoring opportunities, but right now we mustn’t look at the table. We need to look at the character and determination of this team.”

Follow us on:
Inter Milan newsInter Milan news