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Ribery: I can reach the level of Messi

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has claimed that he can 'reach the level of [Lionel] Messi' if he is able to get back to full fitness this year.

• Heynckes warning for Ribery

Ribery has slipped out of the spotlight since he was linked with a €70 million move to Real Madrid last summer, and struggled with injuries as Bayern failed to impress in the Bundesliga the following season.

However, the Frenchman has never wavered in his belief that he can be one of the best in the world and claims he can even match the World Player of the Year.

''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,'' Ribery told Bild.

''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.

''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."

Ribery also talked up Bayern's new coach Jupp Heynckes and claimed he reminded him of the legendary Ottmar Hitzfeld.

"With Jupp Heynckes, I often think of Hitzfeld,'' he said. ''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.''

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