Bayern Icon Ribery Bids Adieu: “The Ball Stops, Not the Feelings Inside Me”

It had been anticipated for a few months now and the news is finally official. French football icon Franck Ribery has decided to hang up his boots having spent more than 20 years in top-flight football as one of the most skillful wingers to grace the beautiful game. The Bayern Munich great will leave Salernitana as his final club, before which he enjoyed a two-season stint at Fiorentina from 2019 to 2021.

The 39-year-old forward starred for a number of big clubs in Europe, including Olympique de Marseille and Galatasaray, but it was at German champions Bayern Munich where he shone the most – ascending to the level of legend.

He appeared 425 times for Mia San Mia, scoring 124 goals in the process and winning a whole lot of titles. His accolades include nine Bundesliga shields, six DFB-Pokal titles, four DFL-Supercup, one DFB-Ligapokal, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Super Sup and one FIFA Club World Cup – with the latter three arriving in the form of a historic treble in the 2012/13 season.

The Frenchman went on to forge a terrific partnership with Dutch legend Arjen Robben, as the flanked duo terrorized defences with athleticism and an almost-telepathic relationship for a good decade at the Allianz Arena, before both left the club in 2019.

Ribery almost won the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2013, having etched himself as one of the best players in the world. The 2006 World Cup finalist also left a lasting legacy with the French national team until his retirement in 2014 – 16 goals in 81 appearances.

He left for Fiorentina from Germany in 2019, ending his Viola stint two years later with five goals and nine assists in 51 appearances, before signing for Salernitana in 2021. Recurring injuries and lack of game time restricted Ribery to just three assists in 25 appearances for the Granata. He played just twice for them this campaign.

Despite terminating his playing contract, the enigmatic attacker will remain with Salernitana until the end of the current season in non-playing capacity, as a technical collaborator to head coach Davide Nicola.

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