Ribery future still open as Bayern progress

BERLIN - Bayern Munich playmaker Franck Ribery's decision whether to leave the side or not was made a little more difficult after the Germans squeezed into the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday.

Ribery almost signed for Real Madrid before the start of the season and has repeatedly expressed a desire to join a big European club to taste Champions League success.

Bayern's progression to the last eight on away goals against Fiorentina means the Frenchman will need to delay his future plans for a more few weeks.

"It is extremely important that we moved into the next round. Together with this team we can still achieve a lot," a beaming Ribery told reporters after their 3-2 defeat in Florence sent them through following a 2-1 first leg victory at home.

"This was a majestic team performance and it was important for the club and the fans," the 26-year-old said, brushing aside questions on his future with the club.

Ribery initially planned to announce his plans in early March but Bayern, with whom he has a contract until 2011, will still be in European action until at least early April.

While Ribery's desire to leave appeared stronger when the season started badly, Bayern are now top of the Bundesliga and are also in the semi-finals of the German Cup.

Plagued by injuries and communication problems with new coach Louis van Gaal early in the season, Ribery has managed to return to top form and has carved out a lethal partnership with Dutch winger Arjen Robben in recent weeks.