France coach Didier Deschamps has heaped praise on Franck Ribery for shedding his reputation as a troublemaker in order to fulfill his potential on the field, claiming that just "two years ago, most people wanted to burn him alive".
The 30-year-old winger was among those sanctioned for his involvement in the rebellion against then-France coach Raymond Domenech during the 2010 World Cup.
However, having fended off competition from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to win UEFA's Best Player in Europe Award last week, the Bayern Munich star has earned praise from Deschamps for now making headlines for the right reasons.
"This award is known all around the world so we can be proud of him. We must not forget that two years ago most people wanted to burn him alive," he said during a press conference. "Everybody knows his qualities; they can make the difference. It will help us that we have someone like Franck."
France travels to Georgia on Friday for a World Cup qualifier before turning its attention toward Belarus on Sept. 10.