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Ribery is European player of the season

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RIBERY-FRANCEMONACO, August 30 – Bayern Munich’s French winger Franck Ribery on Thursday won the award for European player of the 2012/13 season.

The France international becomes the third player to win the award, the two previous winners being Barcelona duo Lionel Messi (2011) and Andres Iniesta (2012).

Ribery won the award this time around ahead of Messi and Real Madrid’s Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 74-time capped Ribery was an essential cog in Bayern’s charge to last season’s historic treble of the Champions League crown, the Bundesliga title and the German Cup.

Meanwhile, West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke revealed Ribery’s former France teammate, Nicolas Anelka is ready to feature in Sunday’s clash against Swansea just a week after he contemplated retirement.

Anelka was granted compassionate leave seven days ago following the death of agent and friend Eric Manasse, with the grief-stricken French striker suggesting at the time he could quit the game.

But after being allowed to clear his head, Anelka was back with West Brom on Wednesday and he resumed training 24 hours later.

Clarke believes the former Chelsea and Arsenal star is now feeling happy enough to figure against Swansea at The Hawthorns this weekend.

“All I said last week was the quit word did come up in conversation. He was in a really bad place,” Clarke said.

“But we did what any club would do – we gave him time to go away and reflect on things.

“He came in yesterday (Wednesday) and told me he was really looking forward to the rest of the season and to helping West Bromwich Albion build on last season. For me, it was great news.”

Clarke insists there are no problems with the 34-year-old’s mental state now he has been able to come to terms with his friend’s death.

“He is good. He explained to me the circumstances around his state of mind last week, and they were all good reasons, and now he is fine,” Clarke said.

“He trained this morning, he trained very well, and I’ve no qualms whatsoever about playing him on Sunday. I need all the good players I can get.”

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