First World Migration: Franck Ribery Turns German?

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 4/08/2015 01:30:00 AM
Having won everything for Germans, Frank Ribery ponders becoming one himself.
We often think of migration as a South-North issue: folks from developing countries heading to developed countries in search of a better life for themselves and their children. However, even at the most elite level of migration--football players moving between first-world nations--there are differences. Given longstanding economic stagnation in France, probably its most famous footballer after the retirement of Zinedine Zidane is Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery. He is very much an outspoken figure, and recently blasted the French national team for leaving him out of the 2014 World Cup squad despite contributing a lot to its qualification:
Franck Ribery has slammed the French football hierarchy - and says he is 'finished' with his country. The Bayern Munich man retired from international football in August, after he was forced to miss the World Cup with a back injury. He asked the French authorities if he could have his back checked out by the Bayern club doctor, but the request was rejected and he is still having problems with the issue.

Ribery said: "With France - I'm finished. For two years I did everything to play at the World Cup - in qualifying I was the one with the most goals and most assists. "France were in Brazil thanks to me. But all that is in the past. I'm really disappointed with what happened."
So Ribery is fed up with his home country. Where to go, then? Why not Germany, where he has been plying his trade for the last eight years or so for Bayern Munich. As it turns out, that is the amount of time it takes to apply for citizenship. Mon dieu! Can the world's most famous French footballer ditch France in favor of Germany? This being Ribery, he's unsurprisingly voiced this sentiment:
Bayern Munich's French winger Franck Ribery has revealed he is considering taking German citizenship in an interview with daily newspaper Bild on Thursday. The ex-France international has played for Bayern since 2007 and when asked whether he wanted to apply for German citizenship, he replied: "Why not? I can imagine staying in Munich after the end of my career.

"I have bought a very nice house, I feel good here and I like the mentality. "My children are doing well at school, they have German friends. "My son Saif was born here, he may even one day play for Germany." Ribery, who turns 32 in April, says his decision whether or not to apply for German citizenship will be because of his family and "the future". "My eldest daughter Hiziya always makes fun of my German, and I laugh with her," said Ribery, who was voted German player of the year in 2008. "I did not learn the language in school, but in my daily life, from other people."

Ribery is one of the few foreign players comfortable with being interviewed in German live on air after Bundesliga matches and has a reputation for being the joker in the Bayern squad. In Germany, a citizen from another European Union country can apply for German citizenship after eight years of residency, by proving you can speak the language and passing a naturalisation test, while retaining their original nationality. Ribery won the Champions League title with Bayern in 2013 and has won both the German Cup and Bundesliga title four times, with Munich on course to claim a fifth German league title. 
In footballing terms, Ribery taking up German citizenship won't matter that much since he's said he will no longer play for the French national team and is nearing retirement age besides. In terms of national prestige, though, it will do France no favors. Can you imagine Babar the Elephant ditching France for Germany? Like Ribery leaving, it would be a huge blow to French pride. 

Admittedly, though, Munich is an undoubtedly great place to live, especially for those with a cultural interest.