Zidane hands Ribery advice
Zinedine Zidane has encouraged his compatriot Franck Ribery to follow his heart when deciding his future.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 22/05/10 6:24pm
France legend Zinedine Zidane has encouraged his compatriot Franck Ribery to follow his heart when deciding his future.
Bayern Munich winger Ribery, who is suspended for Saturday's UEFA Champions League final with Inter Milan, looks poised to sign a new five-year deal with the Bundesliga champions.
The 27-year-old will decide on his future this summer as his current deal expires next year, with Bayern ready to sell should Ribery reject a new proposal.
Real Madrid, whom Ribery came close to joining last summer, would head the queue of European giants ready to snap him up again this time around.
Former Real midfielder Zidane now works for the club as an advisor and could play a key role in luring Ribery to Spain, but he insists his compatriot must make an instinctive decision.
"The important thing is that the player does what his heart says," Zidane told the Bild newspaper.
"He does not have to join Real just because I say so. If he stays (with Bayern), then I think it is perfect.
"I would have really liked to have him here because he is a great player and I like him as a person."
Ribery flirted with the idea of joining Florentino Perez's latest Galacticos experiment in the summer of 2009 but ultimately stayed with the club who paid Marseille £17million for his services in 2007.
And Zidane insists Ribery does not have to make a move from Bayern to play at the highest level as he holds nothing but respect for the Champions League finalists.
"I also had the impression that he wanted to come to Real (last season) and I had hoped he would, for the good of Real because he is such a great player," added Zidane.
"He is my friend and respects me a lot and I hope he one day becomes World Footballer of the Year.
"What he has achieved in the last five years is impressive. He has had things tough in his life, but he has done sensationally.
"But you don't have to have played for Real to reach the very top.
"I am happy for Franck. Bayern are one of the biggest clubs in the world. I like FC Bayern a lot - they treat everybody well and respect them."