Franck Ribery = Overrated

Gourcuff is the future of French football, not Ribery.

For months now I have been bottling it up. I have said what people have wanted to hear. I have said time and time again that Franck Ribery is the best player in France. I have said that he deserves to be on the national team, blah blah blah.

But now I am going to say what I really think, and I know more than my fair share of readers will disagree…but Franck Ribery might be one of the most overrated players in French football history. 

In 2006, most of us were introduced to Ribery on the international level. His play in the 2006 World Cup was stellar. Not many of use knew about the new Marseille midfielder, but we learned soon enough. His speed was great, he knew how to dribble the ball through defenders, he had an amazing touch for finishing the play. He was simply beautiful to watch. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, he possesses those skills still. He is fast, he is fun to watch. But still, he is overrated. 

Four years ago, he might have been the player that most French supporters looked at as their ‘future’. But now with Yoann Gourcuff, Moussa Sissoko, Jeremy Toulalan, Lassana Diarra (I know, I am mixing attacking and defending midfielders, but it really doesn’t matter), their midfield no long needs Franck Ribery, which is something that this blog discussed months ago

Still, besides the good qualities that Ribery has, that we already mentioned, he has a lot of bad qualities as well that always seem to fly under the radar. 

First, lets look at his current situation at Bayern Munich. He is unhappy and wants to leave. When he was with Marseille, all he talked about was leaving. Same with Galatasaray. No matter where he goes, he wants to leave. He doesn’t show any composure. In addition, he doesn’t show any determination to help ‘his team’. 

On the other hand, look at Yoann Gourcuff. This player could have gone to any big club in Europe. I’m sure that AC Milan would have gotten millions from a number of EPL and La Liga clubs to bring him on board. Instead, he wanted to stay with Bordeaux after his loan, Milan accepted that, and he has become an important part, and a leader, on that team. 

Second is leadership. As we just mentioned with Gourcuff, he has shown his leadership skills on the pitch. Same thing can be said with Jeremy Toulalan, who I expect to be the French National Team captain eventually in his lifetime. But Ribery, well, he just doesn’t have that. He just doesn’t have a ‘team work’ type effort. Instead of working with the ‘team’, he seems to only work for Franck Ribery, which is exactly what any team, national or club, doesn’t need. 

Third is his fitness. Here in the United States, Brett Favre (a quarterback in the NFL) is considered one of the best players in American football history. Yes, he was able to put up the numbers. But in addition, he played in nearly every game, which even made his legend greater. Ribery has failed to show that he is a player whose fitness level is where is should be. Since being a pro, he has played more than 30 games only twice in his career (35 games, at Marseille and Brest). And, like the current situation in Liverpool with Alberto Aquilani, a team cannot rely on the services of a player who can only play part of the season. What good is that? 

Basically, Ribery is a good player. He does run, shoot and pass well. But his playing style has almost made him one of the most predictable players in all of football. The situation is not unlike what we are seeing at Toulouse right now, where opposing defenders have ‘figured out’ Andre-Pierre Gignac, which is leading to a lack of goal production this season for the striker. 

In addition to all of this….his fitness, his predictability, his lack off committment and being an all-around cry baby, Ribery is horrible defensively. While it is true that he doesn’t need to be defensive since he is an attacking midfielder, at least having a little bit of defensive skill helps. That is what has made Zidane the player that he was, he knew every aspect of the pitch. Ribery doesn’t. And anyone that is comparing Ribery to Zidane is insulting the great Zizou (even if the two are close friends). 

Basically, looking at the French roster, I think Ribery doesn’t deserve to be a starter. Yoann Gourcuff is starting to show that he is a better player than Ribery. Yes, he might not have the speed, but his dribbling and passing skills, as well as his ability to hold the ball, is quite better than Ribery. Yes, Gourcuff might not be flashy, but he does what he needs to do. And that is leading to his team winning. 

I can go on for hours about Ribery. I can tell you more about why I don’t think he is as great as everyone thinks. Yes, he did well in the 2006 World Cup and yes he had some amazing looking goals throughout his club career. But ‘flashes’ like this isn’t what makes a good players. What makes that kind of player is consistency, mental toughness and being able to play on all parts of the pitch. 

Franck Ribery can’t do any of those.

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10 Responses

  1. Well when I read the headline I thought it would be a bunch of bologna… but tbose are some damn good arguments.

    Lets see how he performs in South Africa.

  2. For the longest time I have wanted Domenech replaced with ANYONE. But now I have to say anyone BUT the author of this article. Ribery is the biggest threat the French side have. Period. Yes he has been injured but if he is healthy the team will play through him no doubt.

  3. On a separate subject he needs to go replace Henry at Barca to really show what he is capable of.

  4. Last year he didn’t do crap at Bayern. And I highly doubt he will do any better on Barca, where he will be overshadowed. People are ‘told’ that Ribery is the best, but the French National Team doesn’t play any better or worse with or without him.

  5. It is just amazing how people buy into the Ribery hype. Kind of like Landon Donovan here in the states. Both players are totally overrated.

    And, people need to learn the difference between being ‘bad’ and being ‘overrated’. I never said Ribery was a bad player. I just say that the sun doesn’t shine up his rump like people always say it does.

    And, on top of this, nobody gives concrete evidence on why he isn’t overrated. They just say he isn’t, but can’t explain their point. I’m just tired of the ‘he just is’ argument.

  6. ribery is not overated…he’s a top notch winger imo. a classy talent which will add quality to any team. he’s wanted by big clubs and he’s not a bad player in bayern either.

    comparing him to gourcuff is nonsense. gourcuff make a safe choice in staying in bordeaux where he is a star. that does not prove anything on gourcuff class.

    does every world class player had to be a leader with excellent defensive ability? messi the wpoy does not have that.

    your bashing on his fitness also does not make sense. any world class player can be injured even ronaldo. if he is not injured, he most likely stay on pitch for 90 minutes full. what sort of fitness are you talking about? robben injured a lot too but he’s still considered ahead of others.

    predictable play? he still go past defense easily and you said he is predictable?

    he’s not at zidane level but he’s important to france 2010 world cup chances. he’s a big game player.

  7. Gourcuff’s Bordeaux beat Ribery’s Bayern Munich twice in CL play. So I guess Gourcuff plays for the better team.

    Yes, staying on the pitch for 90 minutes is all fine and dandy. But when you can only do that in half of the games, what good does it do? One thing important in any sport is consistancy, and the more a team plays together without interuption, the better the becomes. Just look at Bordeaux.

    Also, with Messi, he is a striker. I think Ribery would be a better striker than a midfielder. He is a good passer, but the current starters in the French midfielder are better passers. But, again, Benzema, Anelka and Gignac are all better strikers than Ribery would be.

    As far as his ‘going past defenses’, he isn’t as good at that as he was even two years ago. I would like to see how he plays upon his return, which is taking much longer than expected.

  8. […] read an article on Ribery from the France Offside and Ligue 1 Talk’s Dave Trotter on his Ligue 1 Talk blog about Ribery […]

  9. […] of the points raised, for example in this article, is that Ribéry is always unhappy. I don’t know about you, but I never heard him say on TV […]

  10. […] Frank is perhaps one of the most overrated players see this post from The Offside-Real Madrid and this post from Ligue 1 Talk/French Soccer. Before berating me, please understand that I am willing to […]

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