World Cup Player to Watch: Part Five
France – Franck Ribéry
In the 23 year-old, we are featuring another attacking midfielder player. My next profile will be a defender, I havent forgotten about that side of the game, I promise!
Ribery currently plays for Olympique Marseille but is being pursued by some of the top European clubs including Manchester United, who have already bid £9 million for his services. Ribery has largely played in Ligue 1 but did enjoy a successful loan spell, which included winning the Turkish Football Cup, with Galatasaray. This season he was part of the Marseille side that were the runners-up in the Coupe de France and progressed to the final 16 of the UEFA Cup.
Looked upon by some as the new “Zizou”, Ribery has actually had praise heaped on by the legendary Zinedine Zidane. Zidane has said that Ribery is “someone that will stand out” and “will become someone important in football”. Ribery has tons of pace and is comfortable operating on either flank has the potential to be the next big French player and could be the man to fill the Zidane’s playmaking role on the national team.
French coach Raymond Domenech had been reluctant to select and play Ribery but changed his mind and it should pay off as Ribery will add pace and should torment defences with his dribbling skills and passing ability. He will likely play in a withdrawn strike role in support of Thierry Henry. Les Blues will need Ribery to inject new ideas into their attack for them to avoid a repeat of 2002 when the crashed out of the tournament at the group stage without scoring a single goal.