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Ribery states desire to play for Real

BAYERN Munich star Franck Ribery says he wants to join Real Madrid.

The France international midfielder wants a move sorted out quickly, and has ruled out the possibility of joining any other club.

"It's decided, I want to leave," Ribery told sports daily L'Equipe yesterday. "Yes, it will be to Real or nothing.

"I would like a discussion with the Bayern directors fairly quickly," the 26-year-old Ribery said.

Real Madrid has already spent massive sums in this offseason, signing Kaka from AC Milan, Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United and Karim Benzema from Lyon, along with defender Raul Albiol from Valencia.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge hasn't completely ruled out Ribery's departure in previous comments, but this time Rummenigge reacted strongly by insisting Ribery will not leave.

"This is how I interpret Franck's statement: either Real or nothing. And our clear response is: Nothing," Rummenigge was quoted as saying on the Website of Munich daily TZ. "We are not anxious. Franck is staying."

Ribery has played 38 games for France, scoring seven goals, including in both 2010 World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania earlier this year - both tight 1-0 wins settled by Ribery's goals.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has overseen 209 million euros (US$297 million) in transfer spending since assuming the presidency on June 1 - with a record 80 million pounds (US$131 million) for Ronaldo alone.

Benzema deal

Perez, who in his first stint in the presidency put together Real Madrid's 'Galacticos' squad including Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, David Beckham and Brazil striker Ronaldo, has embarked on a similar plan to bring success back to Madrid. Last season, fierce rival Barcelona won the Spanish domestic double and the Champions League.

On Wednesday, Lyon agreed to sell France striker Benzema to Real in a deal worth up to 41 million euros.

Lyon said on its Website that Madrid will pay a minimum fee of 35 million euros and it will rise to up to 41 million euros with performance bonuses.

Madrid confirmed a transfer deal was reached, adding that Benzema agreed to a six-year deal. Madrid said on its Website that Benzema would undergo a medical soon.

"Lyon has accepted Karim Benzema's decision and has negotiated the terms of a transfer which satisfies all sides," Lyon said in a statement. "The club wishes Karim the best of success with Real Madrid."

The Spanish club headed off stiff competition from Manchester United to secure a deal for the 21-year-old Benzema, considered one of the most exciting young players in Europe.

Lyon coach Claude Puel said the time had come to sell the club's biggest asset.

"It was an opportunity for Karim Benzema," Puel said. "He certainly thought about the situation, and we decided to grant him his wish. All the sporting and financial aspects were taken into consideration and we decided to let him go."


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