Franck Ribery chose Fiorentina because “football is my life and I am still hungry to play. This club has a lot of ambition and we want a top five or top three finish.”
The 36-year-old signed the two-season contract, turning down more lucrative deals in Russia or UAE to join the Viola.
“I want to thank my agents and the club directors. We talked a lot and reached an agreement that made me very happy,” the World Cup winner said in a Press conference.
“I saw in the directors so much motivation and confidence in me. My wife was also decisive for this choice, because family is fundamental to me.”
Ribery is the latest star name to arrive in Serie A and was asked if FR7 was ready for the showdown with Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo (CR7)?
“I came here to help my team, which is Fiorentina. I am not here to be a rival to Ronaldo. Serie A is a great tournament with many excellent players. Inter bought well on the market, as did Juventus.
“The thing I appreciate the most is that people here love and live for football. It’s a wonderful experience and I want to enjoy myself on the field.
“Football is my life. It’s the reason I wanted to remain in Europe and I was fortunate to find Fiorentina. I hope to continue playing until the age of 40, just like Francesco Totti.”
Ribery left Bayern Munich after 12 years at the Allianz Arena, in which he won practically every trophy.
“I am highly-motivated and still hungry to play football. I signed a two-year contract so that I can be decisive on the field and help young players to mature.
“I’d also like to bring something new to a club that has a lot of ambition and we want to finish in the top five or even top three of Serie A this season. There are many teams fighting it out for a Champions League place every year.”
The 36-year-old has certainly brought enthusiasm, as he was mobbed at the airport yesterday and fans flocked to see his introduction this evening.
“Obviously, the welcome was exceptional and it reminds me of Marseille in the way that people live for football. The Stadio Franchi will be full up tonight and that just makes me want to give even more for our jersey.
“I had offers from France, and I have been away from home for a long time, but I wanted a new experience. I like the mentality in Florence and the city is beautiful.
“Luca Toni is like a brother to me and Sebastien Frey also gave me advice, saying I’ll have a lot of fun here.”
Franz Beckenbauer famously said Bayern Munich had “a winning Lottery ticket” when purchasing Ribery 12 years ago, so what does he represent for Fiorentina?
“I think I’m a winning Lottery ticket for Fiorentina, above all because they didn’t pay anything for me!” he laughed.
“I think back to 2006, when I was playing with Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Vieira and David Trezeguet, who taught me so much. I want to do the same for young players now, but they need to always feel hungry. Nowadays, you see players who think they’ve learned everything after three games. That is not the case. I won everything in my career because I worked hard every day.”
Fiorentina open their Serie A season this weekend against Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli, a reunion after his time at Bayern Munich.
“I am not ready to start, but I am happy that I got to train with the squad today, which is very different to training by yourself. I need a week or two to be ready to play, but if the Coach tells me that I’m needed, I will step up.”
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