In what could be termed as one of the most dumb-fuck career moves (pardon my French) may I take the opportunity to stick my head out and say that Franck Ribery’s move to Bayern Munich represents precisely that very thing.
Yes you heard right. Franck Ribery has indeed moved to FC Bayern, shrugging off competitors like Arsenal, Madrid, Liverpool and so on. This may appear a little too harsh on my part to some people, so allow me to clarify.
The thing that linked Franck Ribery to a lot of big clubs was his intense desire to play in the Champions’ League. He has always stated that he intends to play in the Champions’ League and has waited at Marsielle enough. Last season he shrugged off interest from Lyon by wanting to lead Marseille into the Champions’ League. Which also indirectly implied his desire to play in the CL with Marseille once he went through all that effort to lead them there in the first place.
However, for a person of his ambition (as was apparent to the media) he wanted to really, really play in Europe. So things pointed out to either staying on in Marseille and playing in Europe for a season. Or at least a move to a club that had a greater chance of progressing further in the Champions’ League (beyond the group stage). Thus a host of top Spanish, English and Italian clubs came to be linked with him.
Of course, it is not as if Bayern’s capture of Ribery was under the radar. There was speculation that the need for Bayern to bring in a host of replacements into their club would require signings of the quality of Robben, Ribery and so on. But at least I did not expect he would move over to the Bavarian giants.
Let’s be honest and fair here. Bayern have been a European power in the past. But more recently they haven’t been convincing. This summer would come as a serious body blow to them with the departure of Pizarro, Hargreaves, Salihamidzic, and Deisler’s premature retirement. All this puts their chances of mounting a serious title challenge in doubt. And it’s not as if they did superbly this season. They couldn’t even qualify for the Champions’ League that Ribery so badly wanted to play.
Buying a host of stars will be what a club of FC Bayern’s stature would do. What follows on the pitch however is a different issue altogether. It would be crazy to expect that all these signings (which I am sure will be more than the two they just signed) would lead to a Champions’ League qualifying team next season. Stuttgart, Werder Bremen and Schalke are fairly settled with their squads and would definitely try to improve them in light of their UCL qualification.
The only advantage on Bayern’s side is the significantly less number of fixtures that they would have to play. It is suicidal to write Bayern off as far as performances on the domestic front is concerned (just as bad as trying to write Manchester United off in England). But their team would require 1) a great pre-season, and 2) getting the business of acquiring their targets over with quickly.
Getting back to our main man of the day, Ribery’s move to Bayern is a mistake due to one more reason. Not that I am pro-EPL or anything. But Bayern Munich cannot quite compete with the financial clout of Real Madrid, Milan, Chelsea, Man Utd or any other of the big European clubs which mean that chances of Bayern actually progressing far in the Champions’ League on a consistent basis would be limited. I have respect for the German league as far as its competitiveness and entertainment value goes, but their overall quality in comparison to say, the French league, wouldn’t be too much of a step up.
Something, I thought a player of Franck Ribery’s quality might have pondered over. As some of us at Soccerlens would say, “What was he smoking while talking to Bayern?”