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Guardiola says long-term absence Ribery could play before the Bundesliga’s winter break

Photo credit: AFP.

Photo credit: AFP.

After a nine-month ankle injury lay-off Franck Ribery has been training with gusto and could play for Bayern Munich before the winter break, his coach Pep Guardiola said Friday.

“Franck has been training well this week. After nine months he feels no pain, which is delightful news. I believe he’ll be back in the team before the winter break,” Guardiola told a press conference ahead of their away game at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

“He’s in a good mood, he’s been laughing again and that’s great news,” added Guardiola.

SEE MORE: 5 must-see games on television this weekend.

The 32-year-old hopes to make his comeback on Dec. 12 in a league game at Bavarian neighbors Ingolstadt. If he does it will be his first match in his ninth Bayern Munich campaign since joining the club in 2007.

He was perceived by most pundits as Bayern’s player of the year in 2013 when they won the Bundeliga, German Cup and the Champions League. He was on such good form that he was only narrowly defeated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi when he came third in the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or.

“It’s a good feeling to be back in the team,” said the Frenchman after Wednesday’s training session. “I have felt much better in the last two weeks, I can do anything with the ball.”

Ribery last wore the famous red shirt in Bayern’s 7-1 drubbing of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League in March when he came off with an inflamed ankle.

Bayern have five games left this year including their German Cup third round match at home to Darmstadt on December 15, four days before their final league game at Hanover before the winter break.

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