Franck Ribery has told Canal+ that he still feels cheated out of the 2013 Ballon d’Or it was “an injustice” that he did not receive the award.
The 34-year-old, had played a central role in Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga, DFB Pokal and Champions League Treble of that year, and was on the three-man shortlist for the honour with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Five years on, the French forward’s disappointment remains raw, and he believes his own compatriots played a negative role.
“It was a difficult period, it was incomprehensible,” he said in an interview with former international teammate Olivier Dacourt. “I had won every trophy, I couldn’t have done more. For me, it was like a robbery, an injustice.
“I didn’t have my whole country behind me. I saw with my own eyes French people who wanted Cristiano to win. Did the Portuguese want Ribery or Messi to win? Impossible. Do you think in Argentina they wanted Ribery or Ronaldo to win? Impossible.”
🗨️ @FranckRibery sur le Ballon d’Or 2013 : “Pour moi c’est comme si c’était un vol (…) J’ai eu le soutien de certains français, mais je n’ai pas eu tout mon pays derrière moi tout simplement” #MaPartDOmbre pic.twitter.com/h1v5AG83fV
— Canal Football Club (@CanalFootClub) January 7, 2018
At the time, the award was still given jointly by France Football magazine and FIFA, meaning national team coaches and captains had a vote as well as a specialist media panel.
Ronaldo topped the poll with 27.99 percent of the vote ahead of Messi (24.72 percent) leaving Ribery — who won UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award that year — third on 23.36 percent.
Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman