After inspiring Fiorentina to a classy win at AC Milan, Franck Ribery insisted age is just a number.
Franck Ribery says he may be advancing in years but on the pitch, he still feels young after putting on a masterclass in Fiorentina's 3-1 win at AC Milan.
The veteran French forward scored his side's third goal at San Siro and he was applauded by the home fans after scoring and when substituted late on.
Ribery was a constant thorn in the side of a sorry Milan side, who were reduced to 10 men when the former Bayern Munich star was caught by Mateo Musacchio's rash challenge.
He may now be 36, but Ribery insists it is his love of football that inspires him to continue performing at such a brilliant standard. "I am happy, when you play at San Siro, it's always special.
It's a huge arena, so many fans," he told Sky Sport Italia in quotes translated by Football Italia. "It's a bit difficult for Milan fans right now, but we put in a good performance and that's important for us.
"Yes, I am old, but I feel young on the pitch. Football is my life, I love it. I was hungry when I came to Fiorentina and it excites me to see the team doing so well.
"I came to help Fiorentina, the players, and the fans. I am happy, but I need to work every day, every week to play the way I did tonight."
Ribery's mazy run was influential in winning the penalty from which Erick Pulgar opened the scoring and he linked brilliantly all game with Federico Chiesa, who himself helped set up Gaetano Castrovilli's goal and had a spot-kick saved.
"Federico is a good player, I always talk to him and he listens. It's important for him and for the team," Ribery added.
There was a huge roar from Fiorentina boss and ex-Milan coach Vincenzo Montella at full-time and he praised Ribery's timeless performance.
"I took Ribery off because I expected they'd give him a standing ovation," Montella said.
"He is always in the game, always decisive, and has capabilities well beyond the norm, even if he doesn't have the change of pace he had five or six years ago."