Raymond Domenech on Franck Ribéry: “It was like in life, the Zébulon”

Raymond Domenech was the first coach of Franck Ribéry in the France national team. The L’Équipe channel adviser preferred to highlight all the good memories that bind him to the striker. He did not want to return, however, to the 2010 World Cup, an obviously much less glamorous period.

“When did you decide to summon Franck Ribéry for the 2006 World Cup?
From the February internship (lost at Stade de France to Slovakia, March 1, 2-1). They asked me why I didn’t take it. But if he summoned him too soon, he knew what was going to happen, or you kill him because they criticize him, or he becomes the indispensable element, like a Zidane, when he had the profile of the troublemaker. He didn’t want us to tell ourselves, “He’s the one who’s going to save us.”

“Technically, he was impressive, doing everything at 200 an hour”

How did you behave when you joined the group?
I will never forget our first race at Tignes in May. There was still snow. He sees that, he makes balls, in balance and it falls on Zidane! I’m late, it lasts a quarter of a second but I freeze, the time to think “shit, what is that?” ! But Zidane laughs and then they have a snowball fight. And there, you know he’s won… he became the entertainer, without forcing himself, it was natural and I’m not sure that if he had come before, he would have had this freshness, this thing that made you laugh with his jokes

What kind of jokes?
Teen stuff. And you pretend to say “you’re pissed off”, but deep down you really want to have fun. He kept a general spirit of fun, he was really cool, alive.

And on the ground?
It was like in life, the Zebulun. He tried, he ran in all directions and since he admired Zidane, he put himself at his service. He technically he was amazing, doing it all at 200 km/h. He tried everything and anything. Also, he had a chest, it wasn’t a sprint from time to time. He always returned it. We were under the impression that he was dead but he backed away in all directions as soon as he saw the ball.

Was it a key piece in 2006?
It is not a key element, but it had that note of freshness that brings that little extra, that icing on the cake. In short, she brought this unpredictability. It was the free electron.

Could you imagine seeing him succeed in such a race?
Yes, because it had the potential. He was one of those players who can provoke, eliminate and never give up. He always wanted the ball and even if he failed, he never gave up.

How would you place him in the history of French football?
He is one of those who have achieved high-level international careers like Zidane, (Thiery) Enrique, (Lilian) turam, (Patrick) Vieira and I forgot about this exceptional generation. tail (Sagnol) He also had a formidable career, Barthez, Coupet…

Don’t you think that your third place in 2013 in this Ballon d’Or that you dreamed of so much sounded like the sign of your decline?
Perhaps, because he experienced this as an injustice and I understand that perfectly. He touched you because he’s emotional. He could tell himself that whatever he did, he would not be able to change this injustice. And there, you can let go little by little.

Does a game come to mind?
The one from Spain in the 2006 World Cup (3-1, tied 1-1). Somewhere, you created this investment, the return starts from there. He is not afraid, he plays, he tries things, he does not stop. It really is the game that characterizes him. »

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