Ribery dreams of following in Messi's footsteps

BERLIN, July 21, 2011 (AFP) - Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has said that winning the world footballer of the year award currently held by Lionel Messi is his "biggest dream".

"My biggest dream is to be recognised as the best player in the world, and I think I have a chance of fulfilling it," the French international told SportBild on Wednesday.

"Now that I am coming back to 100 percent fitness again, that my head is clear and focused fully on football, and that I have a great relationship with the coach (Jupp Heynckes), I am convinced that I can emulate Messi."

Ribery spoke glowingly of new coach Heynckes, who is back at the club for a third spell in charge after leading Bayer Leverkusen to second place in the Bundesliga last season.

"He listens and gives the players freedom to express themselves on the pitch.

"That is what I need. I feel free to go out there and show what I am capable of.

"I feel able to try out difficult dribbles or dangerous passes again," said the 28-year-old, whose last two seasons have been marred by injury.

"For the first time in two years I have taken part in the whole of pre-season.

"Preparation is important for most players, but for me it is simply a catastrophe if I am unable to prepare properly."

Ribery was one of Bayern's better performers in a 2-1 defeat to Hamburg in a pre-season tournament at Mainz's new Coface Arena on Tuesday.

The German champions play the hosts on Wednesday evening.

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