The retirement of Franck Ribéry – French National Team: unique trajectory for a player apart

His first retirement, international, Franck Ribéry had announced it in supposed anonymity. In the middle of August 2014. On the 14th, to be completely precise and give you an idea of ​​the moment. In the heart of summer torpor, you couldn’t be more incognito and further removed from the noise of the world. At that moment, after 81 selections, Ribéry no longer wanted.

A World Cup lived from afar, because of a recalcitrant back (and low morale too), a Golden Ball that unfairly escaped him the previous fall, partly because of his eyes French football had not supported him enough: It was a lot for a man. It was a lot for Ribéry, above all.

Nervous by nature, with leather that isn’t thick enough for a guy of his caliber, the striker will have been, throughout his career, capable of lifting mountains or falling as high as thirty-sixth depending on his morale at the time.

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Before the Italian press announced his retirement from the sport on Friday, Ribéry had left for the first time. And it was his final fall of the curtain with France, his selection, even his audience, with whom he will have shared almost everything, according to his devastating romps in the meadow, his devastating stories next to the rectangle. In the end, the Boulogne-sur-Mer native will have had a rather unique career in French football history.

After ZZ, it had to be Ribéry

This story began in the mid-2000s when the Ribéry UFO appeared on the Metz lawn. We really didn’t know where he came from. We just knew that he had a great drive, a weird rage and a certain talent. Gone under the radar among the youngsters because of his behavior and his school results in particular, the side recognizable by the scar on his face had decided not to let the second pass.

The world of football discovered him in Moselle. The general public became aware of his freshness, his childish jokes and his sometimes random phrasing in Germany. Called to the gong by Raymond Domenech when he broke everything at OM, he would go on to spearhead the French team at the 2006 World Cup.

Replacing Sylvain Wiltord at the start of the competition, a rebellious goalscorer against Spain and finally an essential starter, Franck Ribéry then became THE successor to the vice world champions. Zinédine Zidane retired, the OM player is obvious. He is even blinding himself. After Zizou, it will be Francky. He also becomes a rival for Thierry Henry. Ribéry wants the bracelet, he demands it. He will never have it.

In any case, it wouldn’t have done anyone any favors, as the atmosphere of this headless French team – if not Raymond Domenech’s dilapidated one – was stale. The Bavarian also participates in this degradation of the climate among the Blues, due to his claims on the ground in particular. We could also spend hours talking about his toxic relationship with Yoann Gourcuff, who in turn became ZZ’s successor, which wasn’t necessarily to his delight. We will simply say that he has finished filling the air of the castle.

The abyss and the inaudible

It was also in this period that Ribéry’s upward trajectory began to go awry and the public ended up looking at him differently. After the freshness, the cooling. The Zahia case, an explosion in the spring of 2010 – which ended in a release in 2014 – did nothing for the player’s popularity. Nothing more than the 2010 World Cup and the day of June 20.

Tap-socks and throat tied on the set of Téléfoot in front of a Domenech of whom we don’t really know what he thinks, Ribéry arrives that day like a dog to bowling. Sportingly, France is drowning. His complaints and the “suffering” that he relates, sincerely, that of his companions, on the morning of a strike that was going to plunge France into the abyss, will soon be inaudible. Ribéry definitely changed that Sunday. His relationship with the French public, too.

If the footballer, d’exception, continued to inspire him, it seems that he is not faut pas oublier de souligner qu’il fut, between 2006 and 2016, le meilleur joueur des Bleus – et de loin -, le cœur était désormais away from the eyes. At the end of an exceptional year 2013, with a victory in the Champions League, a crazy play-off against Ukraine and his repeated exploits in the field of Germany, this is also what stopped Bayern’s number 7 when he saw the Ball. d’Or sliding across his feet. This Ballon d’Or, he deserved it a lot.

The extension of the duration of the ballot, unfair and decided at the last moment, as well as France’s lack of support for football and a latent disenchantment will have sounded the death knell of their already strained relationship with France. We would only see him again during a twenty-six minute lap of honour, one afternoon in March 2014 against the Netherlands. An evening in which a certain Antoine Griezmann honored his first layer with Didier Deschamps’ French team. Symbolically. A little more than that, no doubt.

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