Franck Ribery explained how Fiorentina’s “ambition” and “confidence” convinced him to turn down more lucrative offers for a Serie A move.
Ribery, who ended a glorious 12-year spell at Bayern Munich this summer, had become the subject of interest from clubs in Russia, France and Abu Dubai before signing a two-year contract with Fiorentina.
The 36-year-old’s arrival in Florence came as a bit of shock to many considering Fiorentina only finished 16th in Serie A last season. They, in fact, ended up just three points above the relegation zone.
A summer takeover, however, by the CEO of Italian TV company Mediacom, Rocco Commisso, has led to a change of fortunes.
La Viola have since welcomed seven new players to their ranks in the last few months. Among them are former Barcelona striker Kevin-Prince Boateng and Lazio midfielder Milan Badelj.
And, speaking during his official presentation on Thursday, Ribery opened up on how all this influenced him. He even announced plans to emulate AS Roma icon Francesco Totti by playing until 40.
“I want to thank my agents and the club directors. We talked a lot and reached an agreement that made me very happy,” said Ribery as quoted by Football-Italia.
“I saw in the directors so much motivation and confidence in me. My wife was also decisive for this choice, because family is fundamental to me.”
“Football is my life. It’s the reason I wanted to remain in Europe and I was fortunate to find Fiorentina. I hope to continue playing until the age of 40, just like Francesco Totti.”
On his decision to turn down offers from his native France, Ribery said: “I had offers from France, and I have been away from home for a long time, but I wanted a new experience. I like the mentality in Florence and the city is beautiful.”
The veteran winger also denied claims that Cristiano Ronaldo was a factor behind his Serie A switch.
“I came here to help my team, which is Fiorentina,” Ribery said on the Ronaldo suggestions.
“I am not here to be a rival to Ronaldo. Serie A is a great tournament with many excellent players. Inter [Milan] bought well on the market, as did Juventus.”
While Ribery has begun training at Fiorentina, he admitted that a debut start for the club’s Serie A opener against Napoli is unlikely.
The showdown on Saturday will begin at 20:45 (CET).