When Franck Ribéry joined FC Bayern in 2007 he doubted some of the advice his older team-mates gave him. “When I was young I was told that time passes too quickly, so I should enjoy it,” the Frenchman said at Tuesday’s press conference at the Säbener Strasse, looking back on his early years: “I didn’t want to believe it. Now I’m 36, what’s happened? Time passes too quickly.” Far too quickly: a few days ago it was announced the crowd-pleaser will leave FC Bayern at the end of the season, after 12 years.
“A lot has happened in my mind since then. It wasn’t easy. Such is football, such is life. The situation isn’t easy after 12 years. It was a great time for me and my family. I’ll never forget it,” the 36-year-old said, reflecting on his emotions after the announcement. It is no secret Ribéry loves FC Bayern and vice versa.
“The club will never forget what I did for them. But I’ll never forget what the club did for me either,” the eight-time German champion said: “2013 was one of the best years of course. What we achieved then was crazy, superb, a dream. I have lots of pictures of it.” The winger did not have to think for long when asked about his best goal in an FCB jersey: “Away to Gladbach,” he answered immediately.
But Ribéry also looked back on more difficult times, thinking of the year 2012 and the Champions League final against Chelsea in particular. “You can lose matches but we were dominant. We played at home. It really hurt,” he commented on the Finale dahoam. But Bayern took revenge in the sensational 2012/13 treble season.
Six years later the Ribéry era is coming to an end for the German record champions. The European Footballer of the Year 2013 has yet to decide what will happen next. “I have to be honest, I don’t know what I’ll be doing next season. There are a few options but it’s too early,” said the Frenchman, before promising: “I’ll perhaps play for another year or two but then I’ll return to Munich 100 percent. My family and I feel very much at home here.”
Double as farewell gift
Ribéry dimissed thoughts of an emotional farewell from the fans at the Allianz Arena on the last matchday. The upcoming weeks are too important. “We still have two league matches and a cup final, so we must stay focused,” he said. The domestic double is the big goal. The championship title is special as it would be his ninth: “It’s very important to me. I’d be the first player to achieve it. Many great players have been here, it’s historic and nice,” Bayern’s number 7 commented in view of the potential record.
It would crown the last 12 years, described by chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as “FC Bayern’s most successful decade.” It is coming to an end, perhaps far too quickly.