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Dirty Tackle

Franck Ribery swaps mascot at charity game because kid is too tall

Ryan Bailey
Dirty Tackle

Mark van Bommel — the man who earned a red card in his final competitive game — celebrated a violence-laden career with a testimonial match eleven days ago. His PSV Eindhoven side lost 4-3 to an all-star cast featuring the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Dirk Kuyt and Arjen Robben.

Before the game kicked off, Franck Ribery lined up in the tunnel beside his "player escort" (not the kind of player escort that has landed the Bayern Munich star in trouble in the past) but noticed that the youngster was pretty tall. Clearly concerned by the prospect of appearing short next to his mascot, the 5ft 7in midfielder negotiated a last-minute trade with Holger Badstuber for his smaller companion.

Thomas Müller, meanwhile, stood nervously between the trading parties, probably expecting the swap to be one of Ribery's elaborate pranks. Had the Frenchman used sleight of hand to replace his shorts with Victorian lingerie during the switch? Was the tall kid actually made of fireworks and stink bombs? Nope, thankfully it was just Ribery's delicate ego at play here.

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