Franck Ribery has claimed Bayern Munich will be the last club he plays for in Europe before he gives up "real" football for a new career.
The 30-year-old is contracted to the Bundesliga team until 2017 and suggests he is only willing to appear in the MLS or Asia once his Allianz Arena tenure is over, per Kicker and via Stephen Uersfeld of ESPN:
In Europe, there will be no other club, but it would be a bonus for me if there can be another continent. I could be tempted to go to a country like the U.S. or maybe the [United Arab] Emirates, but I would not count that as part of my real career.
That would be something I would do to wind up my career and could not be compared to what I have experienced in Munich. I will stay in Munich as long as it is possible.
Although Ribery doesn't view the location of his next club to be part of his "real career," the attacking midfielder is likely to make an impact wherever he ends up.
It's fair to say some of his natural speed will be spent by the time he's 34, but even so, Ribery possesses the creative intelligence and natural craft to prolong his career at a decent level, something he acknowledged during his interview with Kicker:
"I enjoy the moment," said Ribery. "Of course, I am 30 and I am getting older. In a couple of years I will not be able to play like that anymore. But I will try to push back that date as long as possible."
Bayern will be extremely pleased to know their key player isn't looking to exit anytime soon. The German giants captured their fifth title of 2013 with the 2-0 FIFA World Club Cup final win over Raja Casablanca, rounding off a historic 12 months for Ribery and his associates.
The former Marseille player is also in the running for this year's FIFA Ballon d'Or. He will compete alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the prize that he would certainly win if the judging criteria came down to how many trophies the individual had won.
Ribery has nine goals and seven assists in 18 appearances across the Bundesliga and the Champions League this season. He finished last year with 11 goals and 16 assists across the same competitions, suggesting he could be about to improve further still.
Although not an individual star on the level of Messi and Ronaldo, Ribery is blessed to play in a team of colleagues who have helped him achieve greatness.
His goalscoring record isn't as productive as the other Ballon d'Or nominees, but his haul of silverware is down to Bayern's stature as the greatest team on the planet.
Whether we'll see the Frenchman emulating Thierry Henry by heading out to the US or following Nicolas Anelka's route to Asia remains to be seen.
Wherever he ends up, you can bet the compact forward will be a hit.
Stats via WhoScored.com.