Ribery eyes Ballon d’Or award

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iol spt jan9 Ribery Reuters Listing the awards and titles not won by Franck Ribery in 2013 does not take long - he swept almost all before him and is now targeting the Ballon d'Or. Photo by: Michael Dalder

Berlin – Listing the awards and titles not won by Franck Ribery in 2013 does not take long - he swept almost all before him and is now targeting the Ballon d'Or.

“I think I'm in with a shout,” he told the Bayern Munich website on Tuesday at the winter training camp in Qatar. “The team and I have played really well in 2013. But we'll see what happens. All I can do is wait.” 1/4

The world player gala of the ruling football body Fifa takes place in Zurich on Monday where Ribery faces off against Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo collected the Ballon d'Or trophy for being best in the world in 2008, and current title holder Messi claimed the honour four times from 2009-2012. But neither can match the success achieved by Ribery in 2013.

The fleet-footed winger, praised for his work ethic, helped Bayern win the Bundesliga, the German Cup, the Champions League, the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup. Only the German Super Cup slipped away in a July defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

In addition to the team titles, Ribery has already been honoured as the French and European footballer of the year. He was Bundesliga player of the year, and the influential German football magazine Kicker named him man of the year. Only on the international stage did things threaten to go wrong, as France slumped to a first leg defeat in their World Cup play-off with Ukraine. A magnificent comeback in Paris averted disaster, and Ribery will be one of the stars to watch at the finals in Brazil.

Club manager Pep Guardiola was effusive in his praise, telling the Bayern website: “Franck should head for Zurich with a broad smile on his face and enjoy every minute. It's not easy to win it.

“Franck has a big, big heart. He works back a lot to help his team-mates. I've never seen a player at this level with so much character. The way he fights for his team. It's an honour for me to be his coach.”

If Ribery does win the Ballon d'Or, he will become the fourth French player to do so following Raymond Kopa (1958), Michel Platini (1983, 1984, 1985) and Jean-Pierre Papin (1991). Platini, now president of Uefa, is diplomatic on Ribery's chances.

“Cristiano and Messi are very good players, while Ribery has won the lot. They are three great players and this is the toughest Ballon d'Or to call in the history of the trophy,” he told Fifa.com last month.

But also speaking to Fifa in December, Ribery revealed he has at least one committed supporter. “My wife has already prepared a place for it (the trophy) above the fireplace in the living room. I try not to think about it too much, but she really believes,” Ribery said. – Sapa-dpa


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