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Prestigious UEFA award

Ribéry named best player in Europe!

Bayern's Franck Ribery has been named UEFA Best Player in Europe for 2012/13! The France and FCB superstar comfortably won Thursday night's vote among journalists representing all 53 UEFA national associations, beating off the challenge of Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

At shortly before 7 pm CET, a visibly moved Ribery accepted the trophy from UEFA president and his fellow countryman Michel Platini. “This is a very special moment for me and I’m delighted. I want to thank my team-mates, all the people at FC Bayern, the fans, and my wife and children. We had a fantastic season,” the player said in an initial reaction.

The live vote among the journalists in Monaco produced 36 votes for Ribéry, 13 for Messi, and three for Ronaldo. “The vote was clear-cut,” commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the last FCB player to win the award in 1980 and 1981. “All you can do is express warmest congratulations to Franck. He won the treble with Bayern and had a fantastic season. He deserves it!”

Praise from the Kaiser

The winger is the fourth Munich player to claim the continent's highest individual accolade, following in the footsteps of Rummenigge, Gerd Müller and Franz Beckenbauer. “A warm welcome to the club of excellence,” commented Beckenbauer, who was named European Footballer of the Year in 1972 and 1976. Ribéry’s success was “logical,” continued the Kaiser: “If anyone deserves it this year it’s him. Franck was not only the best player on the best team, he won everything there was to win with the best team. This award will be very, very good for him. I think he’ll play with even more confidence now.”

The accolade represents the pinnacle of personal achievement in Ribéry’s career to date. He can now entertain reasonable hope of featuring prominently in the FIFA Ballon d’Or, the World Player of the Year award, when it is presented on 13 January 2014 in Zurich.

Ribéry is the tenth Bundesliga player and the fifth Frenchman to be honoured as the best in Europe. Not much more than half an hour after receiving the trophy, he and Rummenigge set off for Prague and Friday’s UEFA Super Cup showdown against Chelsea.