Hoeness: Bayern face brutal fight to keep Ribery

BERLIN - Bayern Munich will have to endure a "brutal fight" to keep their top player Franck Ribery despite having a contract with the Germany champions until 2011, team manager Uli Hoeness said on Friday.

Bayern have repeatedly said they are not prepared to sell the French playmaker for any amount after he steered them to a domestic league and cup double in his first season last year.

But Hoeness conceded there were top European clubs - believed to be Manchesters United and City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona, who would be prepared to spend large amounts of money to lure him away.

"Our aim is to do everything to keep him," Hoeness told Bild newspaper.

"But it will be a brutal fight. For sure there will be questions coming in for him and so it is important that we do not budge and express ourselves very clearly so as to keep him."

Hoeness said it was agents who had the biggest interest in transferring top players because of the commissions they stood to earn.

"If there is unrest then the advisers are waiting for their chance. Advisers are making money when players are transferred and not when they play for years at one club," he said.