Antoine Griezmann not yet a world-class player - Franck Ribery
Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery believes fellow Frenchman Antoine Griezmann is not after "one good season" a world-class player -- a bracket that he feels he belongs in.
Speaking to Sport Bild, Ribery, 33 accepted that the Atletico Madrid attacker had performed well last term, but said that was not enough for his compatriot to join the ranks of the elite.
"Yes, last season he played well, but you should only be considered world-class when you consistently deliver these performances," the former France international said. "We are too quick to say after one good season, 'This player is outstanding, he must win the Ballon d'Or.' I don't agree with this. Quality means, for me, churning out top performances over a period of 10, 12 or 15 years. Then, I say well played too."
Despite a long-term injury, Ribery believes that he has belonged to the top echelon of players over the years -- unlike Griezmann, who scored the away goal for Atletico that knocked Bayern out of the Champions League in April.
"OK, I was injured for nine months last year, but other than that I was almost always at the top of my game over the past decade," he said.
Ribery did have some encouragement for fellow winger Eden Hazard, who suffered a dip in form last season at Chelsea but who, he says, is still "a really exceptional player."
"In our position you always must be immediately on the ball and in motion," he added. "Wide players are so important in modern football -- you can't allow yourself to say I can't get past my marker now, I'll be better off trying next time. That way you just lose your self-confidence."
Ribery praised Borussia Dortmund's Ousmane Dembele but also had some advice for the 19-year-old.
"He's fresh, two-footed and quick with loads of potential: a sprinter who can dribble and go past defenders," he said. "He has and shows no fear, but that can change quickly. He still has to get used to the toughness of the Bundesliga, and with all due respect, he's only just starting out. He's going to have to suffer a lot of criticism, until he reaches the level I am at today."
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.