Franck Ribery backed for UEFA award
Franck Ribery could become the first Bundesliga player to win the UEFA Player of the Year award since Matthias Sammer in 1996 when the winner of the accolade is announced in Monaco on Thursday night.
The France international is being tipped by the German media to land the trophy after a stunning year in the Bundesliga and Europe, playing a key role in Bayern's Treble success.
Ribery faces stiff competition for the prize, as he has been shortlisted alongside Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
German broadsheet FAZ wrote. "As individuals they [Ronaldo and Messi] -- Messi especially -- might have the better abilities. If the quality of a player is also down to a team winning things, then the winner has to be Ribery."
Ribery told Bundesliga.de: "Last season was perfect, so my chances are certainly good. I was consistent. I’ve done everything I can. I’m tense, but also relaxed. There are not many people out there that would deny me the prize."
The winger said that both Messi and Ronaldo were fantastic players, who "scored an unbelievable number of goals" for "a number of years". He added: "I’m more of a provider, even though I chip in with the odd goal like last Saturday against Nuremberg."
On Saturday, Ribery scored his first header in his six years in Bundesliga. He celebrated the goal by storming towards the Bayern bench bare-chested with his jersey left behind in the penalty area.
"I would be very happy and very proud," Ribery said of winning the trophy. "I've already been French Footballer of the Year twice before (2007 and 2008), but have yet to receive international recognition. In that respect, it'd be great."
He said "life goes on" if he doesn’t win the title. "I’ll have another chance at the start of January with the Ballon d'Or 2013 (World Player of the Year). I've got hopes for that too. I've been dreaming of that golden ball for years."
On Wednesday, Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness had already told Sport Bild that "it can only be" Ribery as a winner. "Messi and FC Barcelona were eliminated by Bayern. And Ronaldo is no competition at all -- I rate Franck much higher. There are no sporting reasons not to vote for him: it could only be political reasons," Hoeness said.