Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery has opened up on how the facial scars he suffered as a child impacted him while growing up.
The 35-year-old sustained the injury to his face after a serious car accident in France at the age of just 2, as he required 100 stitches having gone through the windshield.
In many ways, the Frenchman should also be thankful that he didn’t suffer life-threatening injuries, but ultimately it was tough for him growing up with the scars. To his credit, he talks about he used it to his advantage to build his character.
“People would say: ‘Look what he has on his face, look at his head. What is this scar? It’s so ugly.’ Wherever I went, people would look at me.” he told Canal+ Sport.
“And not because I was a good person or because my name is Franck or was a good footballer, but because of the scar.
“They gave me character and this strength. Because, when you are a child and you have a scar like this, it’s not easy. The way people see you, the comments – my family suffered for this.
“The people who talk about you are the parents (of other children), and this is very cruel. I never went to a corner and cried, despite suffering.”
“The problem was that I was sitting in the back and I went flying forward on impact.
“In a certain way this accident helped me. As a child, it motivated me.” he said.
“God gave me this difference. The scars are part of me, and people will just have to take me the way I am.”
Ribery has since gone on to enjoy a glittering career as a footballer, making over 600 appearances as a professional while earning 81 caps for France.
Further, he’s won countless trophies including eight Bundesliga titles and the Champions League among many more in Germany, while he was a runner-up at the 2006 World Cup.
The individual accolades have mounted too, but as he enters the latter stages of his career and prepares to leave Munich this summer, Ribery’s personal story should arguably serve as inspiration to many others on how to deal with personal setbacks and persevere even in difficult circumstances.