Franck Ribéry appears to be the last of a dying breed – an older, accomplished player who retains his sporting ambition.
Three weeks ago, we lamented the fact that these days, players who leave elite clubs invariably go for the money.
We harked back to the days when world class players would take a step down and play for a more obscure team.
Football is a romantic game, and there is no romance in a champion playing out their last days in China or Qatar for mega money.
This is why we were so delighted to hear that France and Bayern Munich legend Franck Ribéry signed for Fiorentina.
Despite the fact that Franck Ribéry is 36 years old, this is a real coup for Fiorentina. In 11 years at Bayern Munich, he won 24 trophies – more than any other player in their history. From 2010 – 2015, he an Arjen Robben terrorized German and European defenses by cutting inside from their respective wings.
As he started to slow down, Franck Ribéry featured less and less for Bayern Munich. A transfer to a cash-rich country like China, Qatar, the United States or Russia seemed inevitable.
That is why it was such a delight to see him speaking Italian to journalists in Florence ahead of his new adventure. He has never played in Italy or spoken Italian, which shows that he is serious about the move. Fiorentina are serious about the move, too, as signing Ribéry is a massive statement from their new owners.
Want to bet on Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga? See our reviews section to find the best markets and most generous bonuses!
It seems to have worked, as Fiorentina have already sold 22,000 season tickets as a result. Ribéry is the first established world star to sign for the Serie A team in years.
To prove that it’s not about the money, he reportedly requested an incentive-based contract. He made his debut for Fiorentina in their 4-3 defeat to Napoli in their first game of the league season.