Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Bundesliga Players: Frank Ribéry


Part of a trio of big money signings, Franck’s arrival at Bayern Munich in 2007 was a watershed for the club and for the Bundesliga. Here was a player of genuine flare and purpose in the peak of his powers arriving at a club in a league that was better known for its atmosphere, low ticket prices, beer and sausages rather than top class players.  Bayern, never a club to be short of a bob or five had been somewhat conservative in the seasons leading up to that but they made a real statement by hiring Franck.

As a player, the Frenchman is pretty much the complete package. Like all world class players, his pace and technique is matched with a tremendous ability to realise his talents.  The Rapunzel like cavalcade of goals and assists that have cascaded down the years are the numbers behind the balance he offers. Ribéry, is a reliable and fearsome presence on the left who can act as a fulcrum to a team that has lost its shape. That happens, even in Munich.

Franck is not a role model; he’s made some unwise choices in his personal life and was implicated with a prostitution ring prior to the 2010 World Cup. Although he was never investigated. He grew up in a poor neighbourhood in Boulogne-sur-mer and was a construction worker before turning professional. It is perhaps poetic, if a stereotypical to suggest that his upbringing and early trauma add additional steel and purpose to his game.

Of the three player signed in 2007 (the others being Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose) Franck Ribéry has endured. Injuries and advancing years have accounted for somewhat reduced game time and it is suggested that a replacement, of a sort, is being sought (Dortmund’s Marco Reus is bandied about by the impish suits at Bayern Munich).  That being said there isn't a full back in all of Germany that does not curtail his ambitions when confronted by Franck on the wing.