Ribery voted German footballer of the year

Bayern Munich's French midfielder Franck Ribery has been voted German footballer of the year, according to a poll to be published in sports magazine Kicker on Thursday.

Ribery, who joined the German first division giants from Marseille last year, garnered 224 votes from Bundesliga players and managers, beating second-placed German international captain Michael Ballack by 109 votes.

He becomes only the second foreign player to win the award since its inception in 1960, the Brazilian Ailton winning the title in 2004.

"It's good for a sportsman to be recognized for his performances. But I have to say that the titles won last year by the team are far more important," said the Frenchman, currently recovering from an operation to his left ankle.

Ribery, 25, was part of the French national squad that came runners-up in the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ finals, going on to win the French Player of the Year award 12 months later.

Bayern won the league and cup double last season and are hoping to make a big impression in the UEFA Champions League - which they last won in 2001 - under new coach Jurgen Klinsmann.