Ribery is good enough to take this year’s Ballon d’Or

2013-10-29 00:00

PARIS — Franck Ribery has settled down in the Bavarian capital so well that he looks right at home even in the ridiculous lederhosen he and his Bayern Munich team-mates don for the annual junket at the Oktoberfest.

If Ribery stays in Munich until his contract expires in 2017, he would have spent a decade and his best playing years with the club. He will be 34 by then and Ribery has said he would have nothing against letting his career run out in Munich.

The Frenchman has helped Bayern win every major trophy and he is arguably the key player in Pep Guardiola’s squad. The best player in the best team in the world.

But is Ribery good enough to take this year’s Ballon d’Or? Better than Lionel Messi? Better than Cristiano Ronaldo? Or for that matter, Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

Based on recent success, Ribery wins the argument. Uefa already made him the European player of the year in August.

Messi, winner of the last four Ballon d’Or awards, was injured late in last season and could not prevent Barcelona being ripped apart by Bayern in the semi-

finals of the Champions League. Ronaldo could not lead Real Madrid to the biggest title either.

Instead, Bayern completed a sweep never before accomplished by a German team.

It captured the Champions League, the Bundesliga and the German Cup. In addition, Ribery set a Bundesliga record of playing in 39 straight games without defeat on Saturday.

Ribery, although a winger, is not a natural scorer with the consistency of Messi or Ronaldo — he had 11 goals for Bayern last season and 23 assists, while also adding five goals for France.

But his overall presence on the field has become a lot more visible since he started working more for the team. He works hard and runs back to help out his defenders, something that was not a given a few season ago.

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