Salernitana star Franck Ribery insists he deserved the 2013 Ballon d’Or more than Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo: ‘Something strange happened…’
The ex-France international has just begun his fourth successive campaign in Italy, the second one at Salernitana. The 39-year-old is a Bayern Munich legend, having won tens of trophies with the Bavarians, including nine Bundesliga titles and one Champions League.
Despite their European glory in 2013, neither Ribery nor his teammate Arjen Robben received the Ballon d’Or that year, which Cristiano Ronaldo lifted.
Ribery finished third behind the ex-Real Madrid star and Leo Messi. The Frenchman still has regrets and feels something strange happened before the award ceremony.
“It was unfair, it was an incredible season for me and I should have won it. They extended the time for votes, and something strange happened. I felt that it was a political choice,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Ribery had scored 11 goals in 43 appearances with the Bavarians that season and played a crucial role in their treble-winning campaign.
The Granata star was on the pitch against Italy in Berlin in 2006 when the Azzurri claimed their fourth World Cup.
“France played better, but that’s what football is about. Italy were so strong mentally and I was replaced by David Trezeguet, who missed a penalty. However, David had scored the Golden Goal against Italy at Euro 2000. These things happen in football. If I think about Gigi Buffon’s save on [Zizou] Zidane…mamma mia!
“Gigi and I have the same mentality, we are happy on the pitch and I am waiting for him in Serie A next season.”
Ribery is about to begin his second season in Salerno after last season’s incredible survival.
“I’ve found great affection here. Everyone lives for football,” he said.
“When we don’t win, I see the sadness in the fans’ eyes and this makes me so sad. I’ve never accepted defeats. Last season, I understood that it was hard to gain survival, but I gave everything to make it.
“It’s not like winning a trophy, but that feat will forever remain in my heart.”