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Franck Ribery targets swift return

Franck Ribery is targeting a return to action for Bayern Munich after the international break, he has told Bild.

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The 31-year-old former France player retired from international football earlier this month. He missed the World Cup with a back injury, but returned to Bayern training in July.

However, he was ruled out of Bayern's Super Cup defeat to Borussia Dortmund with knee problems, and has not since been able to train with the squad.

But he told Bild he was making steady progress, saying: "I feel pretty well, but I still have a bit of pain in my knee, though it is much better than 10 days ago.

"I might not be able to train with the team on Monday or Tuesday," he told the paper. "But I hope I will be able to on Wednesday or Thursday."

Next weekend, Bayern travel to Gelsenkirchen to take on Schalke at the Veltins-Arena. Domestic leagues then have their first international break of the season, and Ribery hopes to use the extra week to get fit for the home match against Stuttgart.

"The Schalke match probably comes a bit early for me," he said. "But I want to take part in our next home game against Stuttgart. I hope that I will be 100 percent fit after the international break."

Meanwhile, Ribery's former France colleague Olivier Giroud has told French television channel TF1 he hopes he will change his mind and return to the national side.

The Arsenal striker told TF1 he would love Ribery to reconsider and add to the 81 caps he won for Les Bleus.

"Of course I was surprised... I imagine that it was a decision he thought about for a long time. He has his reasons. It's not a decision you take lightly," he said.

"But one thing is sure, we all hope he will change his mind because he's a very important player for the French national team. It would be a huge loss for us. So, if he can hear me..."

France coach Didier Deschamps has suggested he may nevertheless call up Ribery for France's forthcoming friendlies with a view to him being part of the squad for Euro 2016, which is being held in France.

ESPN FC correspondent Ian Holyman contributed to this report.

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