An exceptionally talented midfielder, a fast and energetic winger and a technically precise player – words that describe Frenchman Franck Ribery perfectly! One of the best players of the current generation of French football players, Ribery is seen as the replacement for French talismanic midfielder, Zinedine Zidane.
Ribery’s youth career began at his home town, with local club Conti Boulogne. He played for 7 years, from 1989 to 1996, at the club, before moving onto play with the Lille OSC youth team. There were problems for Ribery, at the Lille side, and he was forced to leave the team after just three years. He came back to Boulogne and joined US Boulogne, where he played one season before signing his senior team contract.
In 2000, Ribery was inducted into the first team squad at US Boulogne. He started off as a substitute, making just 28 appearances over two seasons with 6 goals to his name. He moved to Ales and Stade Brestois, in 2002-03 and 2003-04, respectively. Both clubs were amateur teams and Ribery used them as mere stepping stones into becoming more confident with his game, while perfecting his technique and playing style.
At the end of the 2003-04 season, Ribery was on the move and this time, it was to French Ligue 1 team FC Metz. Ribery played at Metz for just one season, making 20 appearances however he was still just 21 and there was a long way to go. In 2005, he moved to Galatasaray, hoping to get more time on the pitch with the Turkish giants. However, things didn’t go to plan and despite playing every game until the winter transfer season, Ribery was not fitting in.
In December 2005, Ribery moved back to France and signed up with Olympique de Marseille. Immediately, there was a change in the way Ribery played and, with it, a change in the fortunes of the football club.
Ribery was fantastic on the ball and almost an unknown element for teams that had never considered him a threat until now. Suddenly, everyone had this fast, tricky winger to deal with and no one knew what to do.
Between 2005 and 2007, Ribery played 60 league games for Marseille and helped the team reach the finals of the Coupe de France in both seasons. After some fantastic performances for the French Under-21 squad, Ribery had broken through into the national team in 2006. After showing off his talent at the World Cup in Germany, in 2006, he surprised the world with his ability on the international stage. Although he was used mainly as a substitute, Ribery did show that he was capable of much bigger things – something Marseille would experience in the 2007 season.