Ancelotti de­fends ‘tick­ing time-bomb’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

BAYERN Munich's new coach Carlo Ancelotti has de­fended veteran winger Franck Ribery, who has been dubbed 'a tick­ing time­bomb' in the Ger­man me­dia af­ter a string of on-field tus­sles.

Bayern start the new Bun­desliga sea­son to­mor­row at home to Werder Bre­men and Ancelotti says peo­ple are get­ting car­ried away in their crit­i­cism of Ribery.

"Peo­ple are cur­rently ex­ag­ger­at­ing a lit­tle in terms of Ribery," the Ital­ian told broad­caster Sport1.

"His­tory has shown us that he has al­ways been a cor­rect (well-be­haved) player."

But Ribery has been in­volved in a se­ries of scuf­fles dur­ing re­cent matches.

The 33-year-old shoved his el­bow in the face of Borus­sia Dort­mund mid­fielder Felix Pass­lack dur­ing a chal­lenge in Bayern's 2-0 Ger­man Su­per Cup win a fort­night ago.

Then at min­nows Carl Zeiss Jena last Fri­day, the French­man struck a Jena de­fender on the head while vy­ing for the ball in a 5-0 romp in the first-round of the Ger­man Cup.

He also pushed over In­ter Mi­lan's Felipe Melo dur­ing a match on Bayern's pre-sea­son tour of the USA in July.

Ribery, whose con­tract ex­pires in June, was not sent off for any of the fouls, only booked for the in­ci­dents with Melo and Pass­lack.

Ex-Bun­desliga ref­eree Thorsten Kin­hofer de­scribed Ribery as a "tick­ing time-bomb".

"Sure, he gets fouled a lot, but he is also eas­ily ir­ri­tated," Kin­hofer added in Ger­man daily Bild.

"The op­po­nents try to make use of that by pro­vok­ing him.

"It can also be tac­tics. The ques­tion is whether he's will­ing to learn at his age."

But Ancelotti says the mat­ter should be put to bed as Bayern at­tempt to win a fifth straight league ti­tle in his first sea­son in charge af­ter re­plac­ing Pep Guardi­ola.

"I think we should for­get the mat­ter and leave it at that," he said.

"He (Ribery) has trained well and is ready to start the new sea­son."

Mean­while, Ancelotti has said Bayern's veteran cap­tain Philipp Lahm, 32, who has a con­tract un­til 2018, could em­u­late Ital­ian icon Paolo Mal­dini, who won the Cham­pi­ons League in 2007 with AC Mi­lan at the age of 39.

"And he (Mal­dini) did that with big health prob­lems, es­pe­cially his knees," said Ancelotti.

"Lahm doesn't have those, he is fit, trains very well and is al­ways the first (at train­ing) and the last to leave.

"I am con­vinced he can play un­til he's 39." — AFP.

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