Franck Ribery is to take on a new challenge in Serie A at the age of 36, having agreed a deal to join Fiorentina.
The winger has signed for La Viola on a free transfer after leaving Bayern Munich at the end of last season.
Ribery enjoyed 12 hugely successful years in Munich but is excited by the prospect of playing for “a big team” in “a beautiful city”, while others of a similar age elect to wind down their careers on less high-profile shores.
The former Marseille man says he spoke with ex-team-mate Luca Toni before accepting Fiorentina’s offer – a wise decision, given Toni is one of only four people to have represented both clubs as player or head coach.
Below, we look at how the others got on…
A Firenze! pic.twitter.com/Y7FFikXKCi
— Franck Ribéry (@FranckRibery) August 21, 2019
Bayern (again): 1998-02
Although best known for his success at the heart of the midfield of Bayern – where he won three Bundesligas and the 2001 Champions League among nine trophies in total – Effenberg did spend two years in Tuscany.
Joining at the age of 24 after Lothar Matthaus had returned to Bayern to take his place, Effenberg endured a miserable first season as Fiorentina were relegated from Serie A. He helped them bounce straight back to the top flight as Serie B champions, though, before returning to Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Gomez won the treble in 2012-13 in his final season with Bayern before heading to Florence, having scored 113 goals in 174 appearances in all competitions and lifted seven trophies.
The striker’s time in Italy was unlucky, though, with knee ligament damage restricting him to only 21 starts in Serie A before he was loaned to Besiktas for the 2015-16 campaign. He helped them win the Turkish Super Lig.
Winning 23 trophies in 12 seasons is remarkable by anyone’s standards, and it highlights just how important Ribery has been to Bayern’s restoration as the pre-eminent force in German football over the past decade.
The treble of 2012-13 was his crowning achievement and should, arguably, have seen him win the Ballon d’Or. Since then, injuries have begun to take their toll, and it is unclear just how effective the Frenchman will prove to be in Italy.
Fiorentina (again): 2012-13
Toni won the World Cup with Italy midway through an impressive first spell with Fiorentina, prompting Bayern to spend a reported €11.6million to take the striker to Germany.
Three domestic trophies in his first season were followed by a more fallow spell, however, while an Achilles injury and disagreements with coach Louis van Gaal led to his departure in 2010. A return to Fiorentina would come three years later, where he enjoyed a single productive season before heading for Hellas Verona.
Bayern (again): 1996-98
For a man who turned out for just two clubs as a player, Trapattoni has certainly enjoyed a nomadic coaching career.
He was twice Bayern boss, winning the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and DFB-Ligapokal in his second spell, before he returned to Italy with Fiorentina. Those two years in Florence ended trophyless, but they were enough to land him the job with the national team.
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