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Henry: I expected Ribery to win the Ballon d'Or

The former Barcelona forward was convinced his compatriot would lift the trophy for the 2013's best individual and was surprised by Cristiano Ronaldo's win

EXCLUSIVE
By Kris Voakes | International Football Correspondent

Thierry Henry believes the good and the great of world football made the wrong call by not awarding the 2013 Fifa Ballon d'Or to his former France team-mate Franck Ribery.

Ribery won five trophies with Bayern Munich over the last calendar year, including the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal, yet found himself finishing third behind Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona star Lionel Messi in the voting at Fifa's Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich.

In an interview at a launch event for for the PUMA evoPOWER boot, Henry told Goal about the 30-year-old's sensational year and how he believes missing out on the Ballon d'Or will not impact on his performances in 2014.

"For me, Ribery should have won it," Henry stated. "I genuinely thought it was going to be a great win. He's a great player and will remain in the history of both our country and of Bayern Munich as a great player, so he just has to go out there and play now.

"I don't think he has to prove anything to anyone - he has been doing that for a very long time with Bayern Munich. He won everything but the German Super Cup, so everybody knows what Franck Ribery can do."

After playing a key part in France's dramatic late qualification for the World Cup at the expense of Ukraine, Henry is of the mind that Ribery could be part of a successful campaign for les Bleus in Brazil this summer.

"As a Frenchman, I would love to see them do well," added Henry. "Spain are still the team to beat, and who can beat Brazil at their own place? That won't be easy. Germany and Italy are always around, and then you have Argentina and Messi.

"But whenever Didier Deschamps is in charge of something - whether as a player or a manager - he's always successful with it. But even if they don't win it, having a good World Cup can be good for the Euros in France in 2016. Hopefully they can play well, go all the way and make us proud."

The former Arsenal and Barcelona striker was a member of the French World Cup-winning squad in 1998, and he insists it is vital that his countrymen start the tournament well, with relative underdogs Honduras, Switzerland and Ecuador to negotiate in Group E.

"You need togetherness to win a World Cup, but you also need results because if you don't win that first game you're already in trouble," he explained. "People are going to question you and you might question yourself, and that's not always easy to prepare for the second game.

"You need to have great players too - not 11 guys, but the guys on the bench and staff too. Sometimes players have to accept they won't play, but then you might need them in the quarter-final."

France open their 2014 campaign on June 15 against Honduras in Porto Alegre and face Switzerland in Salvador five days later.

Click above to watch a full interview or for more information about the PUMA evoPOWER boot: https://www.puma.com/footballclub


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