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'I'm not here to be Ronaldo's rival' - Ribery focused on Fiorentina after completing transfer

21:03 SAST 2019/08/22
Franck Ribery - cropped
The veteran winger will not be drawn on a potential head-to-head with the former Real Madrid legend, but hopes to achieve great things in Florence

Franck Ribery hopes to play on beyond the age of 40 after joining Fiorentina but says he does not intend to be a rival to Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ribery's 12-year stay at Bayern Munich concluded when his contract expired at the end of the 2018-19 season, in which he won a ninth Bundesliga title.

Following prolonged speculation about his next move, the former France winger agreed a two-year deal with La Viola.

And Ribery, who plans to follow in the footsteps of Serie A veterans such as Francesco Totti, is aiming to lead Fiorentina back into the Champions League.

"We have had a very long negotiation, but I am very happy to be here in Florence," said the 36-year-old.

"I saw great motivation and great confidence in me from the management, and that is why I am here. Naturally, my wife also helped in the choice, because my family is very important.

"I am very motivated, I always want to play. I have a two-year contract and I want to be decisive and help the young players. I want to give something new to this club, I want to bring Fiorentina into the top three of the table.

"I came here to help my team, which is Fiorentina. I am not here to be a rival to Ronaldo. Serie A is a great tournament with many excellent players. Inter bought well on the market, as did Juventus.

"The thing I appreciate the most is that people here love and live for football. It's a wonderful experience and I want to enjoy myself on the field.

"Football is my life. It's the reason I wanted to remain in Europe and I was fortunate to find Fiorentina. I hope to continue playing until the age of 40, just like Francesco Totti."

Fiorentina open the new Serie A season at home to Napoli on Saturday but Ribery is not expecting to be involved.

"I am not ready to start, but I am happy that I got to train with the squad today, which is very different to training by yourself," he added. 

"I need a week or two to be ready to play, but if the coach [Vincenzo Montella] tells me that I'm needed, I will step up."