Franck Ribery made a public apology to his Fiorentina team-mates after the veteran French star was sent off for the seventh time in his club career.
The former Bayern Munich winger, who turns 38 on Wednesday, was dismissed by referee Fabio Maresca after going in studs-up on Davide Zappacosta during Saturday’s Serie A clash away to Genoa.
That incident occurred in the 51st minute, with the teams locked at 1-1, and Fiorentina held on as the match finished without any further goals.
Fiorentina and Genoa lurk in lower mid-table, with both sides looking to banish the distant threat of relegation after the international break.
Ribery, who in 2012-13 beat Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win UEFA’s Men’s Player of the Year award, recognised he let down his Viola team-mates.
“Guys, I’m sorry I left you alone,” he wrote on Twitter. “I didn’t want to go in badly and I have already apologised. You fought to the end and you were very brave and careful. Keep going like this!”
— ACF Fiorentina (@acffiorentina) April 3, 2021
Ribery joined Fiorentina on a two-year deal after being released by Bayern in 2019 and was sent off against Lazio early in his Serie A career. He had been dismissed four times for Bayern and once when playing for Marseille.
An ankle injury meant Ribery missed a large chunk of his debut season in Italy, when he scored three goals and had three assists in 21 games.
There have been flashes of his best in the current campaign, in which he has scored twice and had five assists in 23 appearances so far, also hitting the woodwork twice.
However, the number of chances he has created has dipped from 35 last season to 26 this term, despite spending 197 more minutes on the pitch, and his dribble success rate has also fallen, shrinking from 59.55 to 52.63 per cent.
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