Bayern Munich attacker Franck Ribery has revealed that La Liga giants Real Madrid tried to sign him in 2009 after the Frenchman had a fallout with then manager Louis Van Gaal but was advised to stay at the club.
Van Gaal and Ribery had a strained relationship at the club as the 32-year old revealed, “We had problems on a human basis. When he started, nobody knew what was going to happen.
“His idea was that he did not care about names at all, you don’t need stars, everybody had to prove themselves again.
“The first contact with him was already poisoned. As a professional you lose your trust. He does great things on the pitch but the coach Van Gaal was a bad man. Our relationship was crushed,” Ribery told Goal.com.
His problems made Real Madrid take notice as they were willing to offer a hefty fee for Ribery. However, the former French international was convinced to stay at Bayern by Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and they even told him that he was the Messi of their club, “I had intensive talks with Uli Hoeness, who was still president back then, and chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
“They told me I should not go, how the club needed me, how I was as important for Bayern as Lionel Messi was for Barcelona.
“Real tried, they wanted me. I don’t know what price Bayern wanted them to pay. In the end I am happy how it ended.”
Ribery not going to Madrid ultimately resulted in them buying Cristiano Ronaldo for a record a 94m in 2009. For Ribery and co, things turned out well as he won the league title that season. After two years of Dortmund dominance, Bayern finally won the league again under Jupp Heyneches and completed a treble in 2013 after which Ribery was chosen as a Ballon d’Or candidate. He eventually ended third behind Messi and Ronaldo but had an outstanding season where he scored 11 goals and provided as many as 22 assists.
This season, niggling injuries have hampered Ribery’s season as the winger has made just 23 appearances in all competitions so far. Bayern Munich face FC Porto in the next round of the Champions League and with the League all but wrapped up, the Bayern fans will hope that Ribery returns to help bring back the Champions League crown that the Bavarians lost to Real Madrid last season.