On the 29th September, 2019 Franck Ribery rounded off a stunning 3-1 victory for Fiorentina at the Stadio San Siro and he rolled back the years to put AC Milan to the sword with a masterful performance.
Ribery had just joined Fiorentina in August on a free transfer from German champions Bayern Munich after his contract had expired. The decision to sign the veteran attacker was met with scepticism from supporters of other clubs but, for Viola fans, it was huge.
Coming into the match, Fiorentina hadn’t lost in three and they looked to be growing in confidence. Milan on the other hand had been bitterly disappointing under new coach, Marco Giampaolo. It was a great time for La Viola to face the Rossoneri.
Milan were also going through a phase of changes within the background of the club and the uncertainty was reflected in the stands. The atmosphere when the game kicked off however, was intoxicating. Fiorentina flew out the blocks and immediately, it was clear to see that Ribery was destined to shine.
Both Ribery and his strike partner, Federico Chiesa both tested Gianluigi Donnarumma early on before Chiesa was fouled in the box by Ismael Bennacer. Erick Pulgar would step up and send Donnarumma the wrong way, putting the Viola 1-0 up after 14 minutes.
The second half would be more of the same as Milan looked devoid of any confidence and the challenge was made harder when Mateo Musacchio was sent off for a foul on Ribery but only after it was checked by VAR as the Argentinian was originally given a yellow card.
Following the sending off, some neat play in midfield from Nikola Milenkovic set Chiesa free who fired a cross in search of Ribery but Donnarumma could only push the ball into the direction of Gaetano Castrovilli who fired his side 2-0 up.
The atmosphere in the Milan end turned toxic with the ultras starting to remove all banners in protest and this was reciprocated by the players as they looked to have given up.
Castrovilli, who had a stunning performance on the night, was fouled in the area and this time, Chiesa took the penalty.
Chiesa’s effort was stopped by Donnarumma, but they got their third goal when Chiesa released Ribery and the Frenchman turned the Rossoneri defence inside out before firing in at the near post.
Milan eventually got a goal back after Rafael Leao managed to wriggle through the Fiorentina defence to slot home under Bartlomiej Dragowski.
Vincenzo Montella’s first visit back to the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza following his sacking from Milan in November 2017 was a success and it was down to the magic of Ribery and his utter genius.