Ribéry named Footballer of the Year
Bayern and France midfield genius Franck Ribéry has won the prestigious 2007-8 German Footballer of the Year award by an overwhelming margin. In the annual poll conducted among accredited German sports journalists by respected journal kicker, the 25-year-old received 224 of the 766 votes cast, almost double the total awarded to Germany captain Michael Ballack (115) in second place.
Munich stars dominated the poll, as Bundesliga top scorer Luca Toni came third on 108 votes, with Philipp Lahm (69) and former FCB skipper Oliver Kahn (60) fourth and fifth. Lukas Podolski (18) finished ninth with Bastian Schweinsteiger (6) in tenth, an outstanding overall result for the double winners.
“We’re delighted and proud that Franck Ribéry has been voted 2008 Footballer of the Year by an overwhelming majority. The accolade is thoroughly deserved," commented FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. With six of the top ten places going to Bayern players, Rummenigge described the poll as “a unique result for Bayern Munich, demonstrating once again the popularity and quality of our team.“
The Coach of the Year award also went to the Munich giants. Jürgen Klinsmann’s predecessor Ottmar Hitzfeld claimed 264 of the 758 votes cast to win the poll by a commanding margin from another former FCB boss, Felix Magath of Wolfsburg (131 votes), with promoted TSV 1899 Hoffenheim’s Ralf Rangnick third on 71. Ribéry and Hitzfeld will be presented with their awards ahead of the Bundesliga season opener when Bayern entertain Hamburger SV on 15 August.