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On His Birthday We Ask: Why wasn't Franck Ribéry Ever Considered for Ballon D'or?

He was one of the most pursued players in the history of Real Madrid, turning the club down countless times, yet he never regretted it. Though Ballon d'Or eluded him throughout!

Football pundits all over the world had continued to wonder, why a player such as Franck Henry Pierre Ribéry was never considered for Ballon d'or throughout his illustrious career covering 3 top European leagues. In fact the din arising from the outcome of the 2013 edition of the awards, made a lot of people to assume that indeed, the awards are rigged in favour of certain players or leagues.

For a player that has won everything in club football (champions league, league, domestic cup, club world cup), and is rated as one of the best wingers in modern day football, Ribéry was and still is in a class of his own. Amassing an impressive goal haul of 127 for club and the French National team since he started his senior football career at Boulogne in 2000, the skillful player was at a time the hottest property in Europe.

In reality, many are of the opinion that if Real Madrid had succeeded in signing him between 2008 and 2010 as they wanted, Cristiano Ronaldo would most probably not be their target. The player's impressive displays in the 2008/09 season saw him receive plenty of plaudits after providing Bayern with 14 goals and 19 assists in 36 appearances. In a recent interview, the now 37-year-old confirmed that Real had offered to pay between €65-70m for him at that period, with the likes of Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester united and Inter Milan all willing to match or exceed that amount. "That was from 2009 to 2010, Bayern definitely didn’t want to let me go. Do you know what [Bayern president] Uli Hoeness said? ‘Barcelona have Messi, Real Madrid have Ronaldo. And we’ve got you'...as he told SportBild magazine last year.

The young Ribéry actually caught the attention of the world after he moved from Brest to Metz in 2003. Seen more as a journey-man due to his one-season sojourns at Alès previously, his abilities were always in doubt due to his unsettled nature. But at Metz he showed how effective he can really be. Though he spent just 6months in the French Ligue 1 side, he had 20 appearances and scored 2 goals with multiple assists. His unselfish nature that saw him creating opportunities for strikers to score as well as his sublime and tricky play, endeared him to coaches and scouts.

His move to Galatasaray in the Turkish Jupila liga for the remainder of the 2005 season, saw him winning his first of several trophies, as he was part of the squad that won the Turkish Cup that season. By the time he moved again to Marseille in Ligue 1, everyone was watching him as he has already represented the France Under 21 team between 2004 and 2006. After playing 60 times for the French giants and scoring 11 goals, German champions Bayern Munich snapped him up at the then staggering fee of €25million in 2007.

Then there was his time at Bayern! For the 12yrs he spent at the German side up till last year when he joined Fiorentina in the Italian Serie A, Ribéry became undoubtedly one of the very best players in the world. In his traditional number 7 shirt, the gifted forward produced such incredible stats and records that made so many players green with envy. Totalling 182 assists in all competitions and 124 goals, the French winger and his opposite wing partner, Arjen Robben, were the most dangerous players in Europe.

'With Bayern, he won nine Bundesliga titles (a Bundesliga record), six DFB-Pokal, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup, which include four doubles and one treble, amounting to a club record of 24 titles over twelve seasons', Wikipedia. “It’s been one of the best decisions of my life to stay with Bayern" Ribery was reported to have said.

As glowing as his club exploits were, especially in Bayern, Ribéry's exploit for the French national team were always up and down. From 2006 to 2014, Ribéry represented the France national football team 81 times, at two FIFA World Cups (2006, 2010) and two UEFA European Championships (2008, 2012). His exploit at the 2006 World Cup was quite memorable as he scored his first international goal against Spain and played in the infamous Zidane headbutt-inspired final match they lost against Italy.

From his issues with the french federation and coach at the 2010 world cup with all the drama, Ribéry was still one of the most decorated French players. He was a three-time winner of the French Player of the Year award as well as the German Footballer of the Year, becoming the first player to hold both honours. He has also been named to the UEFA Team of the Year and declared the Young Player of the Year in France. In 2013, Ribéry won the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award and was also ranked fourth in The Guardian's list of the best players in the world. That 2013 edition of Ballon d'Or awards, where Ribery came third behind Messi and and eventual winner Ronaldo, has always embittered the french winger.

Headlines such as "If the Ballon d'Or is about trophies, why didn't Ribery win it in 2013"? were in most major sports news around the world. The reason was that prior to the awards, Ribery and Bayern has won the treble and Ribery had already been crowned the UEFA Best player. Every one thought that he would win but magically, Cristiano Ronaldo, who had the backing of of an influential league and Club, defeated him just like he did in the 2008 awards.

With his ban from the French national team over the altercations that heralded France's embarrassing outing at the 2010 world cup in South Africa, Ribery will go on to hold a grudge about it against the organizers and especially his Country's football association. The player was reported as saying: "It was as if it was stolen from me,” Ribery told Canal Football Club. “It’s incomprehensible. I won every trophy, I couldn’t have done more. It was an injustice.”

Ribery feels that he was made a scapegoat after France’s shambolic World Cup 2010 campaign, in which Raymond Domenech’s side crashed out at the group stage and even staged a strike against their coach by refusing to leave the team bus. After that debacle, Ribery made peace with himself and football and continued his remarkable output for Bayern till his contract ended in 2019 and he refused to extend. Rather he made a move to Italian side Fiorentina on a free transfer in August 2019.

This is wishing the electric winger a happy birthday celebration as he turns 37yrs today the 7th of April.


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Content created and supplied by: NwachukwuAgada (via Opera News )

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