Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery: I can be as good as Barcelona's Lionel Messi

The France international had an injury plagued 2010-11, but is looking forward to the forthcoming season, where he wants to prove himself as one of the best players in the world
Franck Ribery has stated that if he has an injury free 2011-12 with Bayern Munich, he can prove that he is as good as Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

The diminutive Argentine led the Catalan club to La Liga and Champions League glory last term, whilst the France international had an injury plagued and largely frustrating season in Bavaria.

Despite this, the former Marseille attacker believes he has the ability to rival the South American superstar.

"If I can get fully fit again and am free in my own head, while having a good relationship with the coach, if this base is right then I can reach the level of Messi. This is for me without question," the 28-year-old told Bild.

Ribery was full of praise for the Spanish champions' main man however, and has applauded the attacker's ability to perform consistently over a long period of time.

''In my first two years [at Bayern], the level I played at was really incredible. Messi has shown, however, that he can do it for three, four years in a row.

''I have worked with his team-mates; [Eric] Abidal has told me a lot about Messi's game. He told me that Messi's mentality is outstanding, he is always relaxed," he continued.

When asked about his new club coach Jupp Heynckes, the winger compared him to a managerial great.

"With Jupp Heynckes, I often think of [Ottmar] Hitzfeld. He has the same strengths, talks a lot with the players and allows them their freedom on the pitch. Exactly what I need. I feel free again, to show what is inside me,'' the Frenchman concluded.

Bayern start their Bundesliga campaign on August 8, with a fixture at the Allianz Arena against Borussia Monchengladbach.

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