Franck Ribery has enjoyed a long, highly-decorated career with Bayern Munich, stretching all the way back to 2007 when he was signed from Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseilles for what was then a record fee of €25 million. In his 12-year career with Bayern, he’s won 8 Bundesliga titles, 5 DFB-Pokal titles, and of course the famous Champions League title from the treble-winning season of 2012/2013.
Fellow veteran winger Arjen Robben has already announced that he’ll leave Bayern at the end of the season, and after the 3-3 Champions League draw against Ajax, Ribery hinted that he might make that decision, too. Speaking to Sport1 after the final whistle, Ribery said his future still remains unclear, but he expressed a level of indebtedness and gratitude towards Bayern in what sounded like a bit of a “farewell”:
We need to wait and see what happens. However, we don’t need to stress out over the situation. I’ve always given 100% effort in my performance. I’ve always respected this uniform. I can’t and won’t ever forget what the club and fans have done for me. This is difficult, but so is life in football. We need to wait.
The Frenchmen’s contract expires at the end of this season, and he’s yet to sign an extension. With his declining fitness and injury proneness at 35 years of age, the prospect that his Bayern career is coming to a close is very real. Ribery said, however, that if that’s the case, he’s not quite ready to hang his boots up for good:
I want to keep playing football until my body says: ‘That’s good’. It’s not a question of a desire to play, when you’ve played 16 years as a professional, 12 of those with Bayern. I feel good and will turn 36 in three months. I’m playing well, I feel 100%, and I’m having fun on the pitch. Thank God that I’ve been able to play the entire season with no injuries. That’s great.
Left back David Alaba also weighed in on his teammate and fully backed Ribery to continue performing at the top level, but said that there’s plenty of time between now and the end of the season, so nothing’s out of the question at this point:
One sees how he’s always fully fit, works to improve himself, and still is as always an important player for us. There’s still a long way to go until the summer. That all has to be decided by Bayern and by Franck according to how he feels.
Will Ribery say auf Wiedersehen after all at the end of the season? Regardless, he’ll be leaving quite the legacy behind whenever he does leave.