After twelve successful seasons at Bayern Munich, winger Franck Ribery has agreed to a two-year deal to join Serie A side Fiorentina.
The former France international, 36, was a free agent following a memorable farewell alongside Arjen Robben in Bavaria back in May.
Having weighed up most of his options ahead of the new campaign, he was said to have rejected advances from Spartak and Lokomotiv Moscow, while Jurgen Klopp was pursuing a move for him too over the summer at European champions Liverpool.
Italian reports claim Ribery was convinced to join by former Bayern teammate Luca Toni, where he’ll join new midfield acquisition Kevin-Prince Boateng after signing from league rivals Sassuolo.
According to reports, he has agreed terms that will see him being paid an annual €4m figure with the Viola under head coach Vincenzo Montella – roughly equating to €77kpw.
His entourage were understandably keen not to venture to Russia, while fierce competition for places at Liverpool made a potential deal unlikely too.
With experience and pedigree at the highest level, he’ll prove a role model going forward for Italy hotshot Federico Chiesa and Riccardo Sottil on the wing.
Despite persistent injuries coupled with the wear and tear on Ribery’s body, expectations will be high for a player long regarded as one of the world’s best.
He only managed to complete a full 90 minutes on six occasions (across all competitions) for Bayern under Niko Kovac last season, but increased competition and those injury issues also played a key role there.
His vision, close-control, dribbling and ability to create chances galore prove this will not be a publicity stunt, while he’ll quietly be expecting to lead the team’s revival after a disappointing 16th-placed finish last season.
After a dismal post-Christmas run which saw them win two games under Stefano Pioli, who resigned in early April, just three points and positive goal difference proved enough for them to remain in Italy’s top tier.
They host league runners-up Napoli on Saturday, as the new Serie A campaign gets underway.