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SL Ballon D’Or Top 10 – Nr 3: Franck Ribery

The France and Bayern Munich winger, Franck Ribery, was voted world’s number 3 by the Soccer-Laduma journalists.

The 30-year-old is considered one of the best wingers of our time, and has been at his best level in 2013.

Ribery is known for his mesmerising dribbles, precise shooting ability, and explosive acceleration. In the 2013 Bayern team that won the club’s first treble in history and five trophies overall, he still stood out through his perfect blend of individual quality and collective cohesion.

He started his career at local hometown club Conti Boulogne, but unlike all the other Ballon d’Or Top 10, at 20 he was still working for his father on a construction side, unsure if he would ever make the breakthrough as a professional footballer.

He spent the first years of his senior career at amateur clubs and only moved to the French Ligue 1 in 2004. After only six months with FC Metz, Ribery moved to Galatasaray in January 2005 for €2.5m and won the Turkish Cup with them.

He returned to France after only six months in Turkey and joined Olympique Marseille on a free transfer. Galatasaray didn’t see a cent for Ribery, because the Court of Abitration confirmed that the Turkish side hadn’t paid all his wages and therefor he was allowed to terminate his contract and move as free agent.

In France, he reached two consecutive Coupe de France finals, but lost both. In the 2006-07 season, Marseille finished the Ligue 1 in second spot and Ribery was named French Player of the Year.

In June 2007, Bayern Munich bought Ribery for a club-record fee of €25m. In his first season in Germany, he won the Bundesliga title as well as the German Super Cup and DFB Cup. Ribery was named the 2007-08 German Footballer of the Year and the French Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Bayern ended the following season without a trophy, but Ribery was shortlisted for the 2008 World Player of the Year. In the 2009 summer transfer window Ribery was rumoured to leave the club to Inter who were prepared to pay €65m for the French winger, but Bayern declared that Ribery would not leave for nothing less than €100m.

In the 2009-10 season, Bayern won the domestic double and reached the 2010 Champions League final. However, Ribery was suspended and saw his side losing 2-0 to Jose Mourinho’s Inter. One day after the lost final, the French winger signed a new contract with the Bavarians, which made him the highest earner  in the club’s in history.

Bayern went trophy-less through the 2010-11 season and lost two Cup finals (DFB Cup and Champions League) in addition to finishing second in the Bundesliga in 2012.

On international level, Ribery has represented his country at two FIFA World Cups and two EURO’s. He made his international debut in 2006 and has scored 15 goals in 75 games, with the 2014 World Cup qualification being his most successful campaign so far.

His club fortunes changed last season, when Bayern Munich won the German double in record-breaking manner and finally the Champions League final in their third final played in four years.

Ribery scored 11 goals and assisted further 23 in 42 games in Bundesliga, DFB Cup and Champions League, including the assist for Robben’s deciding 2-1 in the Champions League final against Dortmund.

His consistent classy performances have earned him the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League Best Player and the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.

In the new season under Pep Guardiola, Ribery has scored six and assisted nine goals in the Bundesliga and three goals in the Champions League.

He was Man of the Match in Bayern’s UEFA Super Cup win over Chelsea, he won the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball and was also the Most Valuable Player of the competition. In addition, Ribery was named Bundesliga Player of the Year and French Footballer of the Year.

Three-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner and France football legend, Zinedine Zidane, has called Ribery the ”jewel of French football” and many experts believe he deserves to win the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or.

There is nothing more to say, besides that Franck Ribery deserves to be Bayern’s highest ranked player in Soccer-Laduma’s world’stop 10.

By David Kappel

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