For the whole summer, there was speculation where would Franck Ribery land. After leaving Bayern Munich, having spent almost a decade for the Bavarians, Ribery was one of the most requested free agent players on the market.
There were still some people believing that the 36-year-old could be heading to China or join one of the MLS table teams, but Ribery decided to stay in Europe and try a league that he hasn’t been before. He will play for the first time in the Serie A schedule, after experiences in Bundesliga and Ligue 1.
Ribery is still going through his medicals at Florence, but he has been received in apotheosis by hundreds of ‘Viola’ fans, who waited for him in the airport. The former Champions League winner – in 2013 with Bayern – will try to help Fiorentina to improve their performance in the Serie A table, after La Viola ended last season in the 16th position, two places away from relegation.
Now, under the guidance of former Roma, AC Milan, and Sevilla coach Vicenzo Montella, the team expects to do better. Montella, who already coached Fiorentina between 2012 and 2015 and took the club to 3 consecutive Serie A fourth places, expressed his delight in counting with such an experienced player as Ribery.
Born in Boulogne-Su-Mer, he played in the youth club of his local team, where he became professional. He then played in fellow French sides Ales, Brest and Metz until a loan spell in 2005 for Galatasaray, where he won his first major trophy in his career. Marseille decided to pay Metz €2M for the youngster back then and he thrived in the Ligue 1 side.
€25M and a ticket to Munich
In 89 appearances for Marseille, the left-winger scored 18 goals and made 20 assists, being awarded the French Player of the Year in 2007. Bayern came calling and decided to pay a club-record fee at the time of €25 million. It might not seem much, in today’s standards, but we bet Ribery would be worth much more if the transfer happened today.
Anyway, in 12 years spent in Allianz Arena, Ribery won 9 Bundesliga titles and 6 DFB-Pokal (German Cups). His best season was perhaps in 2012/13, where he won the Champions League with Bayern, followed by the SuperCup and Club World Cup. For all these achievements he UEFA Best Player in Europe Award in 2013.
He played 425 matches for Bayern, scoring an astounding 124 goals and making 182 assists. He established a deadly partnership with the now-retired, winger Arjen Robben and he became a legend at the club.
Now, Ribery is 36, but in a league that had players like Quagliarella. Luca Toni, Totti, Buffon and much more playing at that age, it is not impossible for him to make a mark.
Fiorentina also has now Kevin Prince Boateng in their ranks and they paid 10 million in the young Chilean anchorman Erick Pulgar. How do you think they will do in this season’s Serie A?