Revelation at Bayern

Published : Jan 31, 2009 00:00 IST

Franck Ribery... one of the best midfielders in the world.-AP
Franck Ribery... one of the best midfielders in the world.-AP

Franck Ribery... one of the best midfielders in the world.-AP

Franck Ribery has proved to be a shrewd buy and was named the German Footballer of the Year following his performances in his debut Bundesliga season as he helped Bayern Munich steal a march on the title.

As Bayern Munich's record signing, the pressure is rarely off Franck Ribery. The France international has worked tirelessly to earn a reputation as one of the best midfielders in the world and that paved the way for a move to the German capital from Marseille in June 2007 for a fee believed to be in the region of 25 million euros (GBP22.6 million).

Ribery has since proved to be a shrewd buy and was named the German Footballer of the Year following his performances in his debut Bundesliga season as he helped Bayern steal a march on the title.

At 25, he is now believed to be entering the prime of a career which started out with low-key spells at French sides US Boulogne, Olympique Ales, Stade Brestois and FC Metz.

Following a year-long spell at Metz, the versatile Ribery - who can operate on both flanks as well as in central midfield - raised more than a few eyebrows when he joined Galatasaray in January 2005.

His time in Turkey may have been brief, but it was eventful to say the least. He scored one goal and made another as Galatasaray thrashed Fenerbahce 5-1 in the Fortis Turkey Cup final before he left the Ali Sami Yen Stadium, over an alleged pay dispute, after five months at the club.

Ribery returned to France and moved to Marseille, but not before Galatasaray lodged a complaint to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the legitimacy of the transfer, which was eventually rejected.

Two seasons of steady progress at the Stade Velodrome followed as well as international recognition in May 2006. At the World Cup later that year he helped France reach the final before Italy triumphed on penalties in a game which will live long in the memory for Zinedine Zidane's red card following a clash with Marco Materazzi. Bayern beat off stiff competition from some of the biggest clubs in Europe to then sign Ribery - who has twice been named French Player of the Year - along with fellow new-boy Luca Toni, who joined from Fiorentina for eight million euros (GBP7.4 million).

The two players won the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and DFB-Ligapokal in their first year at the club, although injury prevented Ribery from playing in the final of the latter competition. Back-to-back Bundesliga titles are now on the cards for Bayern and Ribery.

That Ribery has gone on to forge a successful career after being involved in a serious car crash at the age of just two is a testament to his desire to succeed and world-class ability. However, he did suffer serious facial injuries which required over 100 stitches on wounds sustained in the accident and have left scarring.

Ribery became a father for the second time in January 2008 and now has two daughters - Hizya and Shakinez - with wife Wahiba.

He hit the headlines recently when he reportedly took the Bayern team bus for a spin with his teammates on board during the club's winter training break in Dubai. Pictures have since emerged of what appears to be two broken road signs which are believed to have been hit by the bus. Ribery is thought to usually drive an Audi A6 as part of a sponsorship deal with the German champion.

FactfileName: Franck RiberyPosition: MidfielderClub: Bayern MunichD.O.B.: 01/04/1983France caps: 32France goals: 5France debut: France v Mexico, May 2006Moment to remember

Ribery could not have picked a more opportune time to score his first competitive international goal as France looked on course to be dumped out of World Cup 2006 by Spain in the quarterfinals. Ribery’s strike cancelled out David Villa’s goal and further late strikes from Patrick Vieira and Zinedine Zidane sealed a memorable French fightback.

Moment to forget

Ribery, like most of his international team-mates, had a Euro 2008 to forget. France failed to progress to the knockout stages and, to compound matters further, Ribery limped off injured after barely 10 minutes in the crucial final group game against Italy. France lost 0-2 and finished at the bottom of Group C.

© PA Sport, 2009, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, re-written, re-distributed or commercially exploited. Sportstar is not responsible for any inaccuracy in the material.

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