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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Franck Ribery explains comments

Franck Ribery and his agent have sought to play down comments from the France winger in which he appeared to suggest playing for Bayern Munich was more important to him than the national team.

After scoring in Saturday's 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, Ribery told reporters in Munich, in German: "I have been at Bayern for six years. It is always good here, I am happy. It is more important for me than the France team."

Those remarks understandably proved controversial in his homeland but he was quick to try to play down the issue, blaming it on his lack of fluency in German.

In a statement issued Sunday night, the 29-year-old said: "I perhaps do not have good enough control of the German language to say things clearly.

"Obviously, contrary to what you want me to have said, I don't prefer Bayern to the France team or vice-versa. It is ridiculous to compare the two."

His agent Jean-Pierre Bernes added in L'Equipe on Monday: "Franck did not want to say that, as you can well imagine.

"He does not deny having uttered that sentence but he does not express himself well in German. He just wanted to say that Bayern and France are both very important to him."

France coach Didier Deschamps was unconcerned by Ribery's comments and is confident over the commitment of a player who has won 69 caps for Les Bleus, scoring 11 goals.

"I have no doubt over his attachment to the jersey," Deschamps told television station France 2.

Ribery was at his best as France drew 1-1 with Spain last month, setting up Olivier Giroud's injury-time equalizer and several good chances for Karim Benzema as well as forcing a fine save from Spain keeper Iker Casillas.

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