One player in particular has been repeatedly referred to as synonymous with FC Bayern Munchen’s success in 2013: Franck Ribery. The France international has been in the form of his life over the past 12 months and played an often-decisive role in the Bavarian outfit's numerous title wins.
Ribery and his colleagues secured the Bundesliga title by a distance in the spring, setting a number of fresh domestic records along the way. The DFB Cup and UEFA Champions League soon followed, before die Münchner went on to secure a further trophy in the UEFA Super Cup.
Bayern are once again leading the way in the Bundesliga this term and going strong in both the DFB Cup and in Europe. But the year is not yet over and Ribery is still hungry for more at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco, which he is hoping will crown an unprecedented year for the German record champions.
“It’s been an amazing season,” the winger told FIFA.com. “We’ve done very well, but I always want to keep winning, that’s my mentality. The pressure hasn’t really let up – we’re always expected to win.”
Standing between Ribery, Bayern and yet another piece of silverware are FIFA Club World Cup final opponents Raja Casablanca, who will have the whole of Morocco behind them in Marrakech come Saturday - after knocking out Atletico Mineiro in the semis. Ribery is expecting a special night: “We watched the semi-final in the hotel on TV. The atmosphere will be great.”
The Moroccan champions have been the surprise package of the tournament so far. Little wonder, then, that Ribery is refusing to underestimate them, even if he is convinced Bayern are the better side: “We can’t start to think it’s going to be easy. We need to focus and take it seriously. They’re a good Moroccan team.”
The Casablanca players barely tried to contain their delight after knocking out O Galo in the last four, nor were they too proud to hunt for souvenirs at the final whistle. Superstar Ronaldinho’s shirt was quickly snapped up and Ribery watched as the Brazil legend’s boots were virtually pulled from his feet.
UEFA’s Best Player in Europe for 2013 has a similarly large following in Morocco and chuckled at the prospect of the same happening to him on Saturday: “I think it’s good. They play with heart and obviously they’re football fans too. I thought it was nice how Ronaldinho obliged.”
Ribery has not brought any extra pairs of boots - instead making there was plenty of room for his next piece of silverware - before he packs his bags for a well earned rest back home: “I’m heading back to France with the family and I’m going to spend a bit of time there.”
Switching off from football is essential for body and mind, says Ribery, whose only Christmas wish remains “to win on Saturday – that would be nice”.