The prospect of Western Sydney Wanderers - or any A-League club for that matter - tempting Bayern Munich legend Franck Ribery to Australia is virtually non-existent, according to the veteran winger’s one-time France teammate William Gallas.
The pair remain good friends after four years as Les Bleus teammates, and Gallas - who closed out his decorated career with a one-season stint at Perth Glory - declares hopes of Ribery, 36, joining former Bayern defender Markus Babbel at Wanderland are fantastical.
Speaking from Paris a day after an exiting Ribery hinted to reporters in Munich that Wanderers might be one of several possible destinations in a post-Bundesliga career, Gallas, 41, administered an infusion of realism.
“I know Franck well, and with the other options he has, I just don’t see him coming to Australia,” Gallas told The World Game.
“He might be leaving Bayern after 12 years and so much success but he’s still a fantastic player, who will offer an amazing amount to whoever he decides to join next.
“There will be plenty of clubs in Europe, let alone the Middle East, Asia and the US who will want him. I just don’t think Australia be somewhere he ends up going.
“The distance there is great for him and his family and I’m not sure the league will be something that would really appeal to him.”
Ribery, who converted to Islam in 2002, is favoured to opt for Qatar, with a second stint at Turkish giants Galatasaray also a possibility.
He did, though, appear to offer a crumb of encouragement to Babbel - who is currently back in his native Germany - when he said: “You know that I played football because of the fun and to enjoy it.
"If you play well, then you make yourself a great name and the money comes on its own. You earn money for what you did. I do not just play for money.
"But why not? Why should not I move to colleague Babbel? I do not know. There are many options.
“I'm not sure yet where I'm going. Everything must be right, also because of my family. We are one group - but we are many."
Back in March, Babbel told Fairfax he’d already sounded out Ribery - who is on the cusp of a ninth Bundesliga title with Bayern - and there was only a “one percent chance of it coming off”.
Former Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham defender Gallas supports those odds, adding that FFA, who would be willing to dip heavily into their $3.7 million marquee treasure chest to match any club offer dollar for dollar, would be better served looking elsewhere.
“I enjoyed my time in Australia and really was surprised what a beautiful country it was but just I think Franck has too many choices which he will place ahead of Australia,” he reiterated.
“For me, though, it’s one of the best countries in the world.
“I still miss the lifestyle and the people I met there. That’s something I know Franck would also appreciate if he got there one day.”
With his fitness still at supreme levels, Ribery - according to Gallas - also offers wisdom and the wiles of a seasoned technician, wherever he decides to go.
“When you can still perform at his age, with the experience he brings, young players will learn a lot from you,” he said.
“It would be hard for him now to maybe play fully in every single game but he can teach youngsters how to train and how to be professional.”