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Sep 5, 2013

Platini: France need more from Ribery

From French troublemaker to Europe's best player - Franck Ribery has come a long way in three years.

Michel Platini has told L'Equipe that Franck Ribery needs to reproduce his sizzling Bayern Munich form with the France national side if he wants to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

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Platini, 58, became the first player to win the European Ballon d'Or in three successive years, coming out on top in the poll between 1983 and 1985 during his time at Juventus.

The former France international's club displays were embellished by those in the colours of his country, with whom he won the 1984 European Championship.

And having seen Ribery excel in Bayern's Super Cup triumph over Chelsea last week having picked up the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, the UEFA president now wants his compatriot to prove equally as devastating for Les Bleus.

"I saw Franck play his best game in Prague. He had determination, will, desire, physical strength. Now, he needs to play just as well for France. To win the Ballon d'Or, he needs to play just as well with Les Bleus.

“Like all Frenchmen, I hear that he produces exceptional displays with his club -- I don't see every Bayern game -- but I'm waiting for him to do the same with the national team. He has yet to impress me in that regard, far from it. And the dimension of a player is forged with his national side. But I would like Franck to win the Ballon d'Or because he's had a very big year."

Franck Ribery recently won the UEFA Best Player in Europe award.
Franck Ribery recently won the UEFA Best Player in Europe award.

The stats back up Platini's argument with Ribery scoring twice as many goals per game in the Bundesliga as in international football. However, the former Marseille midfielder has looked significantly more threatening for France in the past year, and will hope to boost his nation's chances of going to Brazil next summer by contributing to victories in Georgia and Belarus as Didier Deschamps' men face tricky back-to-back World Cup qualifying trips.

While questions are being raised in the media over the divergence in Ribery's club and country form, his influence in the France squad remains intact. Having overcome off-the-pitch problems linked to his alleged involvement with an underage prostitiute, which undoubtedly contributed to his dip in form between 2009 and 2011, the Boulogne-sur-Mer-born player now serves as a role model for team-mates who have also found themselves persona non grata with the French football public.

"He's always supported me through the tough times," Samir Nasri, who was ostracised from international football for more than a year following his violent verbal altercations with the press at Euro 2012, told Le Parisien.

"We're very close. We've spoken a lot. He went through the same rejection. He went from being everyone's darling to a leper. He turned things round thanks to his performances. I want to do the same thing as him."

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