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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 5, 2006

Ribery states intent to leave Marseille

France winger Franck Ribery has announced he wants to leave Marseille.

Ribery only joined the Stade Velodrome club last summer from Galatasaray - he walked out of the Istanbul outfit following a contract wrangle - but has seen his stock rise considerably following a fine first season with Marseille and an impressive World Cup.

He said earlier in the week that he would stay with the Mediterranean club but appears to have had a change of heart.

Ribery, who has been linked with Arsenal over the summer, told French television channel TF1: 'I am young, 23 years old, and I want to play in the Champions League and win titles.

'I know Marseille will return to being a big club but at the moment that is not the case.'

Ribery has been linked with a move to Ligue 1 champions Lyon for several weeks - speculation which has prompted angry denials from Marseille president Pape Diouf - and the player hinted at a move to the Stade Gerland.

'The board of Marseille know where I want to go and the club for whom I want to sign knows it too,' Ribery added.

'It is now up to the two clubs to find an agreement. My choice is taken, I will not change it.'

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas welcomed Ribery`s stance following Les Gones' 3-1 season-opening win at Nantes yesterday.

Aulas told Canal Plus: 'He has always been a priority for us and everyone here hopes he will come.'

The evening`s events did not go down well in Marseille, however, with the club quick to put out a statement from Diouf on their official website.

It read: 'We disapprove totally of the methods used this evening by Franck Ribery.

'But it's only a half surprise because we've known for a while that his agent has been talking up a move left, right and centre.

'Our position has been known for a long time. Franck Ribery has a contract which was totally re-evaluated in his favour in March. He was certainly well aware of that.

'We also told him that he wouldn't be leaving this season. So our position hasn't changed and nothing will shake our determination.

'Once he made this obviously rehearsed declaration he and his entourage now have to take responsibility for their acts, as we do ours.'