Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery needs to return to top form and sweep away the disappointment of not winning the Ballon d’Or, the club’s CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has told Sport Bild.
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France international Ribery has played a key role for Bayern during 2013. He topped the prestigious kicker ranking as the best Bundesliga player in 2012-13, and carried that form into the first half of the current season, scoring six and setting up a further nine.
The winger was subsequently named UEFA Best Player in Europe in 2013, but in early 2014 he missed out on picking up the Ballon d’Or, which was awarded to Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo instead.
In February, Ribery suffered a gluteal injury and needed to undergo surgery -- and since then he has struggled to return to top form.
“I somehow have the worry that not winning the Ballon d’Or still plays a major role in the back of his mind. That was Franck’s huge goal,” Rummenigge said.
“When [Cristiano] Ronaldo was elected, I had the impression that Franck was disappointed. But that’s no good now. In the matches against Real Madrid, Ribery now has the chance to show everyone that it was a mistake to not select him.”
Rummenigge explained that Bayern were doing all they can to bring Ribery back into shape for the Real match. “To stand a chance, we need Ribery to be in prime condition,” he said.
But Bayern will not rely on Ribery, with Toni Kroos stressing they will need a team effort to make it to the Champions League final once again. “We need to score the one or the other goal in Madrid,” midfielder Kroos told Bild.
“Of course, we have not delivered our best games recently. But I am convinced that we will see a different Bayern against Madrid. Everyone will run, fight, and do everything to reach the final. Nobody needs to worry that things are not okay here,” Kroos said, who added that Bayern are not in Madrid “to swap jerseys.”
The title holders will have to do without defender Daniel van Buyten and youngster Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. The Belgium centre-back left Bayern’s team hotel in Madrid because of the imminent birth of his third child, while the young Dane was not called up to the squad due to a family bereavement.