Ribery ‘welcomes chance’ to end career in UAE

Joy Chakravarty 10:44 30/12/2013
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Sharing the stage: Ribery and Xavi at the 8th DISC with moderator Mustafa Al Agha.

Bayern Munich and France winger Franck Ribery said he’d love to finish his career in a place like the UAE after adding yet another honour to his growing list following a spectacular 12 months.

In a glittering function at the Johara Ballroom and Madinat Jumeirah on Sunday night, that brought down the curtain on the 8th Dubai International Sports Conference, Ribery was presented with the Globe Soccer Award for 2013.

The Bundesliga Player of the Year and UEFA Player of the Year is also one of the three players short-listed for Ballon d’Or, alongside Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi of Barcelona.

A delighted Ribery, who won an historic treble with Bayern last season, said: “I’d like to dedicate this award to my club, my colleagues and my family. A new year begins for us with Pep Guardiola. We have already won with him, and we hope to win several more in the future.”

The 30-year-old French winger added he’d be delighted to come to the UAE and play for a couple of seasons after his present contract ends with Bayern.

“I will be 34 when my contract with Bayern ends. I have been a Bayern Munich player all these years and I really don’t think I will be joining any other European club after that,” said Ribery.

“I would welcome a chance to play either in the United States or here in the UAE one day.”

As for the Ballon d’Or, Ribery said: “We are three players battling for the Ballon d’Or and I have no idea who is going to win.

“I have done everything that I could with my team. I have won matches with them, and I have scored goals and I have won trophies with them. I don’t know if there is something more that I can do apart from that.

“Whatever happens on January 13, it is not going to take away any of the achievements that I have had with Bayern Munich. It’s been a great season for us and I am satisfied.”

Ribery also spoke about the influence of new coach Guardiola on Bayern Munich.

“I am sure it wasn’t easy for Pep. He did a great job with Barcelona and won almost everything with them,” added Ribery.

“But Pep is a man who loves football and cares about the sport. He has worked very closely with all the players and has helped us enjoy the game even more. I think we have improved as a team since he arrived six months ago and I think we are going to win a lot more tournaments under him.”

Earlier, while speaking at the Dubai International Sports Conference, Spanish midfielder Xavi, who won a Globe Soccer career award along with Deco, also shared his thoughts on Ballon d’Or.

“If I had to chose the best player in the world this season, it is easy… Lionel Messi,” said the Barcelona star. “Not only is he the best player in the world, I think he is the best player in the history of the game.

“If you ask me to chose between these three players, it would be Messi, Ribery and Ronaldo in that order.”

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