Franck Ribery, European Footballer of the Year, Not Messi or Ronaldo

As expected, winning the Champions League was enough for Franck Ribery to win the UEFA Best Player in Europe award as somewhat of a team achievement award to all of Bayern Munich, while Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who had better individual seasons, finished second and third respectively.

Ribery is the first French player to win the award, which used to be the Ballon d’Or since Zinedine Zidane in 1998, and also the first Bayern Munich player to win the award since Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in 1981.

Ribery is the first French player to win the award since Zidane in 1998

In a season like this, it has nothing to do with international football like Iniesta enjoyed Spain’s success to pick up the award a year ago and leave Ronaldo with a very depressed face. This time, he was looking towards losing, which was quite expected considering the fact that Messi had a better individual season, while Real Madrid finished behind Barcelona and failed to win the Champions League.

There also might be somewhat of a trend setting thing, or paying more attention to what players do in the context of the team, and not jsut the player who outdoes everyone else on the pitch on most nights, but it isn’t enough to win the biggest trophy of all.

Ribery, who has been playing for Bayern Munich since 2007, scored 11 goals in all competitions last season and added 23 assists, winning his third championship with Bayern Munich and the Champions League title for the first time after losing in two finals.

Messi led Barcelona to their fourth league title in five years, leading the La Liga in scoring with 46 goals, and scoring 60 in all competitions, adding 18 assists in all competitions.

Ronaldo finished second in the La Liga for the third time in his four years with Real Madrid, and also finished behind Lionel Messi when it comes to scoring, finishing with 34 goals in the La Liga and 55 in all competitions, adding 14 assists.

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