Three reasons why Ribery's absence may be a good thing for France

Franck Ribery France

There was an immediate outcry when it was revealed the Bayern Munich star would miss the World Cup through injury, but is it really a blessing in disguise?

Since he broke onto the scene over eight years ago, Franck Ribery has grown into one of Europe's finest attacking players, winning titles in France and Germany along with the Champions League with Bayern in 2013. This is, after all, the player who came third behind winner Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the Ballon d'Or last year.

Ribery has been France's talisman and star performer since Zinedine Zidane hung up his boots in Germany in 2006 so news of his back injury ruling him out the World Cup was met with huge regret in his homeland.

However, despite his undoubted ability, his absence may prove to be a good thing for the France international side in Brazil this summer, and here are three reasons why. 

Mentally in a bad state 

Since that night in January when he was overlooked as the world's best player, something he reportedly felt was unfair after what he has achieved with his club, his form and confidence dropped dramatically. In February, Bayern seemed unbeatable, they were destroying teams for fun, and there was no doubt as to who their star was: Ribery.

But since the turn of the year, he has scored a mere four goals in all competitions against lesser opponents and has failed to perform in the 'big games', most notably against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.

Injury had a part to play but former Bayern captain Oliver Kahn felt his decline was not due to a lack of fitness: “It’s hard for a sensitive player like him not to win the Ballon d’Or after winning the treble. But you should be able to move on at some stage. It shouldn’t be about Ribery; it should be about Bayern.”

He hasn't been fit for six months

As already mentioned, Ribery has not been fully fit for months. After his lower back operation in January, many hoped his excellent form of in 2013 would continue but when he did return for the 1-1 draw with Arsenal after a month out, he was never able to recapture his best form.

Going into the tournament there were fears surrounding his back injury which makes the decision to not take Manchester City's Samir Nasri look even more naive. 

Because of the injury he has lost a bit of pace and the ability to go past players, and without those attributes he just is not the same player. This is bad news for both the short and long term. If, without his pace he can have no real influence on games it suggests, as he gets older, he may not be able to adapt like Ryan Giggs for example. 

It gives the opportunity for other young French players to shine

Ribery is no spring chicken at 31-years-old, and with him becoming more injury-prone, this tournament is the perfect opportunity for the younger generation of French players to step up to the plate. 

It is time that France built their side around someone new and there are plenty of talented players they can turn to. 

Juventus's Paul Pogba is the obvious choice. Strong, athletic and perhaps finally a worthy successor to Patrick Vieria, the young midfielder could become a star during the World Cup. Even QPR's Loic Remy and Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin offer new and exciting options to French manager Didier Deschamps. 

But it is Real Sociedad's Antoine Griezmann, perhaps the nearest to a like-for-like replacement for Ribery, who could really prosper from the injury to his fellow Frenchman. He has already scored three goals for Les Bleus in just four appearances and looks well suited to international football. 

If he performs and shows the kind of potential that he has for his club over the last 12 months, French fans may actually be secretly pleased that their supposed star man is back home with his feet up and not toiling away in the heat of South America. 

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