Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery has told kicker he will not play for another club in Europe but is open to a move to the MLS or Gulf region before he retires.
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Ribery, 30, joined Bayern from Marseille in 2007 and, although he had talked up a move to Spain three years ago, he said in a recent Sport Bild interview that he had opted to stay after receiving the club’s backing during a difficult time.
The France international has now ruled out any prospect of a future move to La Liga, Ligue 1 or any other European league, but he says he would relish the chance to play in the MLS or the Gulf once his “real career” is over.
“In Europe, there will be no other club, but it would be a bonus for me if there can be another continent after that,” he said. “I could be tempted to go to a country like the U.S. or maybe the [United Arab] Emirates, but I would not count that as part of my real career.
“That would be something I would do to wind up my career and could not be compared to what I have experienced in Munich. I will stay in Munich as long as it is possible.”
Ribery, who will be 34 when his current contract expires in 2017, says he is not dwelling on the matter of when that moment might come.
“I hope I can play at this level for as long as possible, but I don’t think about it,” he said. “I enjoy the moment. Of course, I am 30 and I am getting older. In a couple of years I will not be able to play like that anymore. But I will try to push back that date as long as possible.”
Ribery was conducting the interview on the back of collecting kicker’s Man of the Year award for 2013, as well as being named the best player at the Club World Cup, which Bayern won after defeating hosts Raja Casablanca 2-0 in the final on Saturday.
The winger, who has already won the France Footballer of the Year and UEFA Player of the Year trophies, is also on the shortlist for the 2013 Ballon d’Or alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
He has acknowledged that he is at a “disadvantage” for the award after FIFA extended voting, which would appear to benefit Ronaldo as it allowed voters to take into consideration his heroics during Portugal’s World Cup playoff success against Sweden.
However, given that Bayern clinched the Champions League, Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and UEFA Super Cup during the voting period, Ribery is not giving up hope.
“We are all winners. I know how I played and what I have won,” Ribery said. “You just have to look at the stats. It can’t get any better. What else should I do? Looking at the year as a whole, I may indeed have done enough to deserve the Ballon d’Or.”