Created on 27-12-2015 at 10:30 AM
2015 was not a good year for Franck Ribéry. The French winger appeared only five times in the Bundesliga, three times in the Champions League and once in the DFB Cup, as he was sidelined from March to December with a stubborn ankle injury. Only four days after his yearned-for comeback in Mönchengladbach he sustained yet another injury in the Champions League match in Zagreb, which made him an onlooker during the closing stages of the year.
In an interview with fcbayern.de the 32-year-old from the northern French town of Boulogne-sur-Mer looked back on his long injury spell, his emotional comeback and the help he received from his kids.
Interview: Franck Ribéry
fcbayern.de: Franck, you have four kids. Are you a strict dad?
Ribéry: “I'd say I'm very calm towards my kids. Whenever I have some time I belong to my kids and to my wife. I'm not on the go often, I like to stay at home with my family, and I had lots of free time this year. It was a completely different experience for us all. When I was fit I was away every three days.”
fcbayern.de: Your kids are growing up in Germany. How German are they?
Ribéry: “I've been here for almost nine years, my eldest daughter is seven. She has a German mentality. She talks to her little sister in German (his two sons are younger). They find the right words, unlike me.”
fcbayern.de: How do you spend your winter holidays?
Ribéry: “We wanted to fly abroad. But since I sustained another injury I’m undergoing treatment on an almost daily basis. I've organised it in a way that we can stay with my family in Boulogne.”
fcbayern.de: How will you celebrate New Year's eve?
Ribéry: “I'll celebrate with my whole family in Boulogne, about 15 people, just like every year. I'm looking forward to it. The atmosphere is always great.”
fcbayern.de: You’ve been sidelined for the best part of the year. Have your children asked you: What's wrong, dad?
Ribéry: “My eldest daughter asked me if everything's all right. Of course I try to be positive when I'm home and be in a good mood. But my family have noticed there's something I miss. Football is my profession. I belong on the pitch, I have to play. So I've been sad sometimes this year. But my kids have helped me forget the injury from time to time.”
fcbayern.de: How were the nine months without football?
Ribéry: “It was a very hard time. I thought a lot, what's going on, I did a lot, tried a lot. I fought and kept my head held high.”
fcbayern.de: Did you fear that your career might have been over?
Ribéry: “No, never. But the situation was very severe. When I was at the stadium I was delighted when the team played well and won – but that only works for three or four matches. If you're an onlooker for nine months it hurts. That wasn't fun.”
fcbayern.de: But then there was the match in Gladbach. Pep Guardiola made you warm up and the Bayern fans chanted, “Ribéry! Ribéry!” How was it?
Ribéry: “Very emotional. When the fans call my name it always sends shivers down my spine. It's nice to hear that the fans have been waiting for me. I've been at Bayern for almost nine years now and I have a special relationship with the fans. We’ve fought together, laughed together, won together. It's nice that the club was always there for me during the whole injury spell. Something has grown between Bayern and Ribéry.”
fcbayern.de: And then you scored. Was that important to you, to know: I can still do it?
Ribéry: “I knew I could do it! When you're injured you can do nothing but wait. When you return to the pitch it's easy. You immediately feel that you're still good at it. You don't lose your talent, only stamina and muscles.”
fcbayern.de: Unfortunately you sustained another injury in Zagreb.
Ribéry: “Yes, unfortunately. I was mentally ready but the muscle was still weak. The main thing is that my ankle is all right again. Now it's only a muscle injury. When I'm fit again I’ll only need some rhythm and match practice.”
fcbayern.de: The new year is about to start. What wishes do you have for 2016?
Ribéry: “That I'll be fit again as soon as possible. I'm really motivated. The two or three weeks I spent with the team towards the end of the first half of the season were nice. That's where I belong. I actually hope that all those who are injured will be fit again soon. We want to fight for many titles together.”