When Franck Ribery was first unveiled as a Bayern Munich player in June 2007, the world was a very different place: George W. Bush was still in the White House, Twitter was something birds did and Germany only had three stars on their national football jersey.
Fast forward to 2018 and the Frenchman is into his 12th season with the record Bundesliga champions, having become a genuine institution at Germany's most successful club. Now 35, Ribery has been lighting up European football for over a decade, winning everything there is to win with the Bavarian giants.
"Bayern's like a family to me," he once told fcbayern.com. "Ribery and Bayern together, that's love. I've done my bit to get the club to where it is now, and Bayern have obviously had an influence on my development too. The relationship between Bayern and me is special."
'Special' is an ideal word to describe a man who has conquered hearts and minds at the Allianz Arena during his glittering career, notching up 81 goals and 121 assists in 260 Bundesliga games. As well as being France's record appearance maker and goalscorer in the German top flight, he has collected over 20 titles with Bayern.
Sit back as bundesliga.com celebrates Ribery's 12 top-flight seasons with 12 standout moments…
1) 18 August 2007, Werder Bremen 0-4 Bayern – First Bundesliga goal
Ribery arrived at Bayern with plenty of pomp and circumstance in the summer of 2007, joining from Marseille for a then record club fee of around 25 million euros. He also inherited the No.7 shirt from retiring club legend Mehmet Scholl, but it didn't take him long to start justifying the hype. After netting three goals in two games in the now defunct DFL-Ligapokal, the 24-year-old opened his Bundesliga account in style, caressing a Panenka past Bremen's Tim Wiese from the penalty spot.
That set the tone for an exceptional first season for Ribery, who was swiftly nicknamed 'Kaiser Franck' in a nod to club great Franz Beckenbauer. Bayern's iconic former captain once famously said that securing the Frenchman's services was like "winning the lottery".
4) 3 April 2010, Schalke 1-2 Bayern – Snatching the title from Schalke
With six games of the league season remaining, Bayern travelled to the Veltins-Arena to face leaders Schalke, who were two points ahead of them at the top of the table. Ribery put the visitors ahead on 25 minutes, showing smart reflexes to volley home from just inside the area following a corner. A minute later Thomas Müller doubled the Bavarians' advantage, and Schalke would never recover, either in the match or the Bundesliga. Bayern returned to the summit and stayed there, getting their hands on the title with wins over VfL Bochum and Hertha Berlin. Ribery was also on target the following month as the record champions thrashed Bremen 4-0 in the DFB Cup final to complete another double.
However, Ribery would be denied the chance to contest his first UEFA Champions League final against Inter Milan. Having been sent off in the semi-final first leg against Lyon, the Frenchman was suspended as Bayern lost 2-0 to the Italian side in Madrid. On a brighter note, he did extend his contract with the Bavarian giants until 2015.
8) 25 May 2013, Bayern 2-1 Dortmund – First Champions League title
No compilation of Ribery's greatest hits would be complete without mention of the 2013 Champions League final itself. Having missed the 2010 showpiece through suspension and suffered that agonising defeat to Chelsea on home soil, the Frenchman finally got his hands on Europe's top prize in London. Robben is generally remembered as the hero at Wembley, but Ribery more than played his part, starting the move that led to Mario Mandzukic's opener before backheeling into the Dutchman's path for his 89th-minute winner. A week later, Bayern completed their historic treble by seeing off Stuttgart in the DFB Cup final, and the festivities in Munich constituted a major highlight of Ribery's outstanding career.
"The treble celebrations in 2013 were a standout moment, on the town hall balcony," he recalled on fcbayern.com. "We'd lost two Champions League finals before then and it wasn't easy, everyone was down. That made it even better when we finally won it and could celebrate with the fans."
11) 8 April 2017, Bayern 4-1 Dortmund – Still flying at 34
In the latter stages of the 2016/17 season, Bayern demonstrated their superiority over Dortmund with a comprehensive win at the Allianz Arena, which left the champions-elect a whopping 18 points clear of their black-and-yellow rivals. Ribery, who notched five goals and 12 assists in the Bundesliga that term, needed just four minutes to open the scoring, before winning a free-kick that Robert Lewandowski curled in for 2-0. He then released Robben down the right flank early in the second half, as the flying Dutchman cut inside for one of his trademark finishes. All in all, it was a perfect outing for Ribery the day after he turned 34 – he even got a birthday surprise from coach Carlo Ancelotti after being subbed off in the second half.
"Franck turned in a superb display and it was his birthday yesterday, so he deserved a little kiss," Ancelotti declared. Ribery would go on to net again in another 4-1 home win over Freiburg on the final day as the Bavarians stormed to the title by 15 points.
A month later, he extended his contract until summer 2019, before making his 250th Bundesliga appearance in Stuttgart at the start of September. His goal in the 3-0 win over Nuremberg on Matchday 14 also meant that he has now netted for Bayern in 12 consecutive league seasons. And if the record champions can overhaul current leaders Dortmund between now and May, Kaiser Franck could stand alone as the only player in history to have lifted nine Bundesliga crowns.