GGFN Advent Calendar | Day 7 – The story of Franck Ribéry

Welcome back to the Get German Football News advent calendar. As the countdown to Christmas continues, so does our festive fun on day seven, as we remember the player that made this number so famous, Franck Ribéry.

On June 7, 2007, Bayern Munich announced the signing of a then 24-year-old Ribéry from Marseille for what was a club record fee of €25 million. With high expectations upon his arrival, the Bayern faithful would certainly not be disappointed in their new French star.

Ribéry began life in Bavaria with a debut assist against SV Wacker Burghausen in the first round of the DFB-Pokal before scoring a delightful chip during his second Bundesliga appearance away to Werder Bremen. With the Frenchman finding his feet in the German game, he would hit a short, dry patch in front of goal.

Regardless, there was never any doubt that Ribéry would fulfil his potential at Der Rekordmeister, and he would ultimately finish his first campaign at the club with 19 goals and 20 assists. Ribéry truly was a star, and after completing the domestic double in his first season, the sky was the limit for the tricky winger.

However, when a certain Arjen Robben joined Bayern in the summer of 2009, it was clear to see that the two would propel the record champions, as well as each other, to new heights. Despite Borussia Dortmund threatening to become Bayern’s arch-rivals for silverware at the beginning of the 2010s, the formidable duo of Robben and Ribéry hit their peak.

Better known as ‘Robbery’, the two dazzled as Bayern became the first German side to win the treble, overcoming their demons in the Champions League after defeat to Chelsea at the Allianz Arena the year prior. Nevertheless, their record-breaking season saw Ribéry become almost unplayable. With 11 goals and 23 assists in all competitions, the Frenchman could not have done more to be named the 2013 Ballon d’Or recipient.

However, despite even assisting Robben for the winner in the Champions Final, Cristiano Ronaldo pipped him to the trophy. Regardless, it was a phenomenal year for Ribéry, who had proven why he was—albeit not officially—the best player on Earth.

The next few years would see the Frenchman claim six more Bundesliga titles and three more DFB-Pokals before ultimately departing Bayern in the summer of 2019 to join Fiorentina in Italy. With a total of 124 goals and 182 assists during an eleven-year stint in Bavaria, Ribéry will always be remembered as a Bayern Munich legend, and it is hard to imagine that the number seven shirt will be worn with such quality ever again.

GGFN | Will Shopland

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