Kingsley Coman: "I'm not the new Franck Ribery at Bayern Munich"
Coman is just feeling his way back from an ankle injury sustained on Matchday 1 that kept him out of action for three months and made his return in the 2-1 victory over Werder Bremen last week.
Watch: Highlights of Bayern’s win in Bremen
In a way it was fitting that the man he replaced in that game as a 38th-minute substitute was Ribery. The 35-year-old veteran is in the twilight of his playing career, with Coman – 13 years his junior – touted as the long-term candidate to fill the void on Bayern’s left flank.
However, while Coman is full of admiration for his countryman, he’s keen to forge his own path in Niko Kovac‘s side. “Nobody can replace Franck Ribery,” he told AZ. “There’s only one Franck and nobody will ever be like him. He’s a wonderful role model for me. It’s my aim to do as well as him, but in my own way.”
He is already well on the way to doing so. Now in his fourth season at Bayern, Coman has already won three Bundesliga titles and the DFB Cup, as well as contributing nine goals and 11 assists in 65 league outings to date.
Yet his thirst for success is still far from quenched: “Obviously it’s a dream of mine to become as important at Bayern as Ribery and [Arjen] Robben are. I want to fulfill the expectations the club have of me and I want to play an important role in the future. Both of those players really are icons – they’ve performed for the last ten years and had great success. I want to stay at Bayern for a long time and have a similar career to theirs.”
There seems to be little doubt that will happen, especially as Kovac is a fan of his young charge, calling him “a top player” and “someone who gives us a different dynamic”.
Coman’s return to fitness is timely in light of the club’s nine-point deficit on leaders Borussia Dortmund. Robben and Ribery have both struggled with injury this term, and with James Rodriguez also in the treatment room, Coman’s creative spark, pace and willingness to take on his marker will have fans excited, offering them hope that Bayern can still reel in their Black-and-Yellow rivals.
The French youngster himself has not ruled out the possibility of helping the club to a seventh straight Bundesliga crown: “It’s still possible. We’ll do everything we can to beat Dortmund at the Allianz Arena in the second half of the season. Then we’d only be six points behind. We want to and can still win the title.”