Bayern Munich and France winger Franck Ribery.
Many football fans have argued down the years for Franck Ribery as either under-rated or over-rated, with no general consensus being met. However, the success he continues to enjoy in his excellent career surely speaks for itself, and he has just had the season of his life with treble-winning Bayern Munich.
Although often thought to go missing in the big games, Ribery has arguably been Bayern’s best player in their incredible season, scoring 11 goals and providing 22 assists in all competitions, and putting in an excellent display in both legs of Bayern’s 7-0 aggregate mauling of Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals. Statistically, he has been the best player in the Bundesliga this season, with the most assists and man of the match awards in the whole league, as well as completing the most dribbles and playing the most key passes. He can occasionally seem frustrating to watch, but he has been brilliantly effective this season and will surely have silenced many of his critics.
Ribery first made a name for himself at Marseille, attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United after an impressive season in 2005/06. He then starred for the French national team in that summer’s World Cup, helping the unfancied Les Bleus to the final of the competition. One year later, he became Bayern Munich’s then-record signing when he joined for £21million.
He has been part of one of Bayern’s most successful periods since joining, scoring 80 goals and providing 120 assists in his six seasons with the club, helping them to three league titles and three Champions League finals.
Along with Arjen Robben, he provides excellent natural wing play for Bayern, with his superb dribbling and crossing skills. Few teams in the world right now can enjoy the service of two better wide players. He also has 72 caps and 12 goals for the French national team, being a key player in the side since 2006.
It’s hard to understand why Ribery does not get more credit, but perhaps he is starting to find a bit more consistency now in this excellent Bayern team. Their success will surely only continue, and he will carry on playing a major part in it. Though even now, he is surely up there with the best players in the world.