France must not be scared, says in-form Ribery

Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:38pm EST
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PARIS (Reuters) - Franck Ribery believes he is having the best year of his career and says France should not be scared by the prospect of their two-legged World Cup playoff against Ukraine.

The 30-year-old Ribery, widely regarded as one of the main contenders for the FIFA Player of the Year award, is expected to be France's main weapon when they visit Ukraine on Friday.

The winger was in the French squad which needed a controversial goal to draw 1-1 at home against Ireland thanks to Thierry Henry's 'handball' goal and qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

But Ribery, who has scored four times and set up four more of the team's last 13 goals, said France should not worry about the pressure.

"Playoffs have nothing to do with other matches and the environment will be difficult too but we'll have to be relaxed, not to be scared," Ribery told a news conference at the team's Clairefontaine training base, near Paris.

"We have not to do things by halves. We have to go there to win," he added.

"We have not to tell ourselves that there's a return leg ... we have to tell ourselves that we have the team to win there and go for it."

In-form Ribery, who played a key role in Bayern Munich's unprecedented treble last season, said he has reached the peak of his playing career.

"I really am at my peak," he said. "It really is my year."   Continued...

France's national soccer team player Franck Ribery controls the ball as he attends a training session at Clairefontaine, near Paris, November 11, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann