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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
May 23, 2008

Ribery to tease Anelka over miss in Moscow

CLAIREFONTAINE, France, May 23 (Reuters) - Franck Ribery said on Friday he was ready to tease Nicolas Anelka over his penalty miss for Chelsea in the Champions League final. 'Sure, I'll do it,' joker Ribery told reporters when asked whether his France team mate faced some ribbing for his shootout miss in Wednesday's final in Moscow won by Manchester United. 'Maybe not just yet, though,' added Ribery, speaking at France's training camp outside Paris. 'He could have an axe or a hammer in his bag.' Ribery, who burst into the limelight at the 2006 World Cup, has reached a new dimension since and promises to be one of France's most important players at the June 7-29 European Championship finals in Austria and Switzerland. Having replaced Zinedine Zidane as France's most emblematic player, he knows youngsters in the squad such as Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri, both 20, will turn to him for advice. 'If I can help them, it will be with pleasure,' the 25-year-old said. 'What I have to tell them is 'don't be afraid, try things and don't put yourselves under any kind of pressure'.' An explosive midfielder, Ribery, who had not started a game for France before the 2006 World Cup, now has 25 caps and has become an automatic choice for coach Raymond Domenech. 'I feel the coach trusts me more now,' he said. 'He talks to me more than he used to, says things to me. I can tell that he trusts me and that makes me more confident and stronger.' Ribery, coming out of his first season for Bayern Munich which ended with a domestic league and Cup double, has matured as a player but he still cannot pace himself and conserve energy. 'I'm told to do that but I just can't,' he said. 'It's just not my nature. When I'm on the pitch, I give it all I have. That's simply the way I am. I can't change it.' Asked about the prospect of France meeting Germany in the June 29 final, he said: 'That would be special because I play in Germany but, frankly, I don't really care who we play in the final,' he said. 'I just want us to get there and win it.'

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