Ribery: I fit in with new Bayern philosophy

BERLIN - Bayern winger Franck Ribery has insisted he is a team player, in reply to comments from new coach Jupp Heynckes which suggested the Frenchman was too individualistic.

"All the work I do is for the team. If I have to go back and defend, I'll go back. If I have to attack, I go forward and attack. I'm never playing just for myself, I play for my team," Ribery told Bayern's website.

"I don't score many goals, but I do lay on a lot of goals," added Ribery, who is preparing for his fifth season with the Bavarians.

Heynckes, hoping for a big improvement on last season when Bayern finish third in the Bundesliga, has suggested he would implant a more defensive approach, saying that forwards wins matches and the defence wins championship.

He was also quoted on Monday by Bild newspaper as saying: "In today's football, the team needs to function as one, particularly defensively. Franck Ribery must be integrated into that like any other player."

Ribery said he got on well with the 66-year-old coach who is back for a third stint at Bayern.

"We have a very good relationship, and it's very difficult for me if I don't have a good relationship with the boss. I don't enjoy my football and I don't play well."

He admitted that his last two seasons with Bayern had not been as good as the first two.

"The last two years have been more difficult, partly because I kept picking up injuries.

"A lot of negative things happened, which made it a very tough time for me.

"But I'm strong. I've kept my head held high and always followed my own course. Everything is perfect again now, for me, for my family, and for FC Bayern."