Franck Ribery could make his Fiorentina debut against Napoli when the Serie A season gets up and running this weekend, says Vincenzo Montella.
Ribery joined La Viola as a free agent this week, signing a two-year deal having left Bayern Munich following the expiration of his contract.
At his unveiling, the former France international and nine-time Bundesliga winner initially suggested that he would not be ready to play this weekend, and is certainly not fit to start against last season’s top flight runners-up.
However, Fiorentina coach Montella has not ruled out the possibility of using the 36-year-old for Saturday's season opener at Stadio Artemio Franchi.
“I want him to be with us because he wants to be a part of the game,” Montella told a news conference. “I want him to be with us and I hope for a chance for him to play.
“He joined us because he wants to be still on the first line. He has to be competitive, I know he says he wants to, he works on it and I realised by myself in these first days of training.
“He doesn't pull himself out during the sessions. He knows he can get results only through hard work. I am sure he will transmit this mentality to all the squad.
“But I need to focus on the game. Dreams are great, but we need to keep our feet on the ground in this moment.”
Ribery was given a rousing reception at his official presentation on Thursday, with thousands of the club’s fans gathering to welcome the former Marseille maestro.
The 2019/20 campaign will be his first in Italy, following domestic stints in Turkey with Galatasaray and Germany with Bayern.
In his home country of France, with whom he won 81 caps, the winger has enjoyed spells with hometown club Boulogne, Ales, Brest and Metz as well as Marseille.
During a star-studded spell in Germany, and alongside his impressive league title haul, Ribery lifted the Champions League in 2013 – the same year that saw him pick up UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup winners’ medals.