Michael Ballack has hit out at Ousmane Dembele for jumping ship from Borussia Dortmund as soon as Barcelona came calling for his signature.
The French wonderkid completed a £135.5m switch to Catalunya in the summer window as La Blaugrana earmarked Dembele as the man to replace the departed Neymar in their team.
Speaking to the press at an advertising event in Munich (via Welt), the Germany legend explained why the 20-year-old should have stuck with Die Borussen for a bit longer after they gave him his big break in football following his £7m transfer from former club Rennes.
Ballack said: "The Dembele case shows that the players have a lot of power these days. What happened is not out of the ordinary.
"Dembele owes much to Dortmund and should have showed a certain behaviour to them."
Dembele went on strike at the Westfalenstadion as he tried to force through a move to Barcelona and, after initially refusing to sanction the sale of their star forward, Dortmund relented and accepted Barca's humungous bid for the France international.
The transfer saga reminded Ballack of his own potential transfer to Nou Camp back in 2004, and the former playmaker revealed that he would not have dreamed of refusing to play and going absent without leave from Bayern Munich even though the Bundesliga giants opted not to allow him to join one of La Liga's heavyweights.
He added: "In 2004 I had an agreement with Barcelona, but Bayern did not want to let me go. Striking was not an option for me.
"You are a footballer, but you are also a role model. You want to win and play for the best. But not by any means necessary."
The 40-year-old also added that he felt the ever increasing transfer fees in the market were spiralling out of control, and wondered where the beautiful game would end up if it allowed such mammoth fees to be passed around in the future.
Ballack commented: "Such sums have consequences. The questions are: 'Where is it going? Is it going to continue on like this? Or is it just a brief moment?' You have to deal with the sums sensitively and face the topic."