Franck Ribery is set to retire from football at the age of 39, reports in France claim.
Currently under contract with Serie A side Salernitana, the iconic winger only made two appearances at the start of the season, and has since been side-lined with knee issues.
Those problems now look to have ended his career early, with L’Equipe reporting the Bayern Munich legend will now hang up his boots.
A nine-time Bundesliga winner, the Frenchman also completed a famous European treble with Bayern in 2013, and later finished third-place [23.36 per cent] in the Ballon d’Or running behind Cristiano Ronaldo [27.99 per cent] and Lionel Messi [24.72 per cent].
Ribery formed a near-unstoppable pairing on the wings for the Bavarian giants, with Arjen Robben on his opposite side, the duo terrorised defences across the continent.
After leaving the Allianz Arena in 2019, Ribery quickly became a fan favourite at Fiorentina, and then did the same at Salernitana, helping the side stage an unlikely survival campaign last season.
However this term he’s only started against Parma as his side’s captain in the Coppa Italia, before featuring in their Serie A opener at home to Roma on August 14.
The 2006 World Cup runner-up had previously expressed his intention to play on into his 40s after experiencing a joyful career twilight in Italy.
That’s now been scuppered though with L’Equipe saying ‘the pain took over,’ adding: “Ribery has undergone several examinations which have led to the same observation. His knees gave out.
“His cartilage rings hollow. The pain only increased to the point of saying stop.”
Salernitana have the smallest budget in Italy at just €45million [£39.5m] and weren’t expected to avoid relegation during 2021/22, let alone sign such an iconic player, but Ribery’s 23 appearances and three assists helped claim a 17th-placed finish.
Ribery will now remain as a club ambassador to the end of the season, ending a fine career which has spanned France, Turkey, Germany and Italy.
- Frank Ribery to retire at 39 with the European-treble winning Bayern Munich legend ending an iconic career that saw him narrowly miss out on the Ballon d’Or to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
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