Bayern Munich must be kicking themselves for not cashing in on Franck Ribéry while the going was good. The German side turned their noses up at a €50m bid from Chelsea for the 27-year-old last summer but now they might end up having to turn him over to the gendarmerie for nothing after the striker got caught playing chanson d’amour in D minor – or in Zahia Dehar’s case, double D minor.
Now you’ve got to feel sorry for Franck. Although God may have broken the mould when he created the footballer, whatever was spilt in the process did little for the Frenchman’s features, and as a result the poor bloke looks like Ugolin, the peasant who hangs himself at the end of Manon Des Sources.
And it looks as though Franck, who is married with two children, has given himself enough rope to hang himself with after consorting with a lady of the night, the aforementioned Dehar. In fairness to the French they neither particularly frown upon adultery nor prostitution and indeed the oldest profession in the world is perfectly legal across the channel. Even our Gallic cousins, however, draw the line at paedophilia and Franck’s problem is that the fair Zahia only turned 18 in February.
It’s easy to have a go at Frenchman here because you don’t have sex with underaged females, but you only have to have a look at pictures of the girl in question to realise what an easy mistake it was to make. Let’s face it, she looks at least 21 and for Franck, who is 27, that’s not the most outrageous age gap in the world. Particularly not by French standards. Plus, it seems that Zahia had been on the game since March 2008 – so if anything Franck should be suing her employer under the trades description act. Plus, this article on how to spot jail bait only came out last week, was published too late for the Bayern forward to take heed.
Neither Zahia, whom the player flew over to Germany on various occasions last year and paid €2,000 for sex, nor Franck appear to have a problem with the arrangement. Neither, as it goes, did Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema, who has also been brought before the beak for playing bagatelle with the same woman – when she was just 16. That’s right, like Ugolin in the film, it seems the subject of Franck’s affections cared for another man. Well, several others actually. In fact, in her words she “loved them all”. Pauvre Franck. He and Benzema are looking at a possible three-year spell in the slammer if the judge decides to take the matter further.
France coach Raymond Domenech is also sweating and not just because of what he might have picked up from the communal tub of ‘Deep Heat’ at Clairefontaine. Domenech may now be forced to go to South Africa without both Ribéry, who is 9/2 with Boylesports to miss out on the French World Cup squad, and Benzema.
All of which means that France are now a general 18/1 to win the trophy they claimed in 1998 and only missed out on in a penalty shoot-out last time around. All things considered that is actually a very good price. Whether Ribéry and Benzema are in the squad or not, France remain a decent side and, conversely, these external influences might actually serve to unite the team, much like Zahia did in the first place. In fact Domenech could do a lot worse than bring her along as a cheerleader.