The former Paris Saint-Germain boss has lauded the Bayern Munich winger after he masterminded les Blues' demolition of Australia, and hinted that the team was turning a corner.
The Bayern Munich man opened the scoring from the penalty spot and played a key role in tormenting the Socceroos’ defensem and Fernandez is sure that in Ribery France has a significant focal point once more.
“Every great team has a leader. Ribery is it,” the former Paris Saint-Germain boss told beIN Sport. “He even was the first defender on occasion!
"That’s what we want to see, France as a team. We wanted to see the team attack and press and put in a collective effort. This is what happened [against Australia]."
Ribery has been receiving rave reviews from across Europe, including from Real Madrid assistant coach Zinedine Zidane, who suggested that his compatriot deserved the Ballon d’Or ahead of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Australia’s heavy defeat was enough to get coach Holger Osieck the sack, and Fernandez feels that the result points to Didier Deschamps' team beginning to realize its potential.
“It was just a friendly match against a modest opponent, but what it says when you score six goals is that you took them by the throat," he added. “Against Belarus, the French side were spectators. Maybe the fact that they finally thumped someone changed that. Because until now, this golden generation, this generation of talent had yielded nothing.
“We feel that there is potential in this team, and we have waited to see that potential at work.”
France has one qualifying match left in Group I, but looks set to face the uncertainty of the playoffs to reach Brazil next year, with Spain only needing a point against Georgia to guarantee top spot.