SoccerThursday, August 14, 2014
Ribery says he is quitting France team
FRANKFURT — Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery is retiring from the France national team, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family and make space for younger players.
Ribery told Germany’s Kicker magazine that “the moment has come” to quit, adding that the move comes “purely” for personal reasons. The decision means he will miss the 2016 European Championship hosted by France.
Kicker released the interview during yesterday’s German Super Cup match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Ribery was not in the lineup, with Kicker saying he is struggling with a knee problem after a back injury ruled him out of the World Cup in Brazil.
“I am stopping. I’ve realized that this moment has come,” the 31-year-old winger told Kicker. “I’d like to dedicate myself more to my family, to concentrate fully on the job in Bayern Munich and to make space in the national team for many great young players.”
Ribery played 81 games for France, scoring 16 goals, and was part of the team that lost the 2006 World Cup final to Italy. But he had an uneasy relationship with France officials and supporters.
He was a central figure in the team’s player strike at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and his reputation took a further hit when he and fellow France player Karim Benzema went on trial for allegedly having sex with an under-age prostitute. They were both acquitted in January in a case that lasted three years.
“You have to know when to quit. I’ve experienced so much. It’s time to let others come through and one could see at the World Cup that one doesn’t have to worry about the future of France,” Ribery told Kicker.
France was eliminated in the quarterfinals by eventual World Cup winner Germany.
“There were highs and lows, now is the time for a new chapter in my life,” Ribery said.
Borussia Dortmund beat Bayern Munich 2-0 in the German Super Cup to win the first domestic title of the season.
Dortmund shut down former teammate Robert Lewandowski, while on the other side Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored in the 23rd minute and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed the victory in the 62nd.
Both teams played without many of their World Cup stars, who have only recently returned to duty.
Dortmund also beat Bayern 4-2 in last season’s Super Cup, but Bayern went on to sweep the domestic double ahead of Dortmund. The Bundesliga season kicks off on August 22.
Herald staff with AP