French great Zinedine Zidane once described Franck Ribery as a jewel, but the Bayern Munich forward's performance against Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday suggested he is still something of a rough diamond.
Ribery created a hatful of chances for himself and his team-mates in Bayern's 2-0 win, leaving bewildered Juventus defenders chasing shadows as he ran at them at pace.
There was a whiff of panic in the Juventus defence every time Ribery got the ball and fears about his counter-attacking menace inhibited the Italian side when they pushed forward.
However, the 29-year-old French international, who was raised on a rough housing estate on the outskirts of Boulougne-sur-Mer, nearly ruined it all in an ugly incident involving Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal late in the match.
Ribery, whose face still bares the scars of a car accident he suffered during his childhood, had been involved in a memorable duel with the Chilean all game and lost his temper after yet another hard tackle and stamped on Vidal's leg.
He should have been given a red card but referee Mark Clattenburg appeared not to have seen what happened and let him off.
Ribery also displayed an infuriating penchant for theatrics which earned Vidal an undeserved yellow card in the first half and ruled him out of next week's return leg through suspension.
Ribery went tumbling to the ground and then held his face in apparent agony following a tackle by Vidal but television replays showed there had been no contact and that Vidal had gone for the ball.
The winger has been in trouble before and his career nearly went off the rails in 2010, a year which Ribery himself described as "terrible" and which reached a low point when he was banned by France for his involvement in a players' mutiny at the World Cup in South Africa.
His performances since his return have won back the trust and admiration of the French fans although the subject resurfaced in November when former France coach Raymond Domenech published his memoirs.
"He was prone to take offence at everything", Domenech wrote about Ribery. "A senior player at the 2008 Euro finals had warned me about Ribery but I gave him the keys of the team. What a fool I am."
There have been rumours at Bayern that Ribery does not get along with team-mate Arjen Robben and when Jupp Heynckes took over as Bayern coach in 2011 he suggested that Ribery was too individualistic and needed to play more for the team.
But, by and large, the Bavarians appear to have kept Ribery on the straight and narrow.
Widely regarded as the most influential player in the Bundesliga this season, Ribery told Kicker magazine in January that he regarded himself as one of the world's best players even if he did not make the World Player of the Year nominations.
"There aren't many players in the world with my qualities," he said.
"In the old days, it would have upset me that I haven't played any part in those votes, but not away more," he said.
"I'm as good as I've ever been. I'm at my highest level, I'm 29 and that's a good age for a player because many things come together."comments