Jerome Boateng, who has been voted as BFW’s Most Improved Player this season, has always been an important part of the club, and it is indeed great to see him come back stronger and better after having a lustreless Hinrunde. In an interview given to the club magazine 51, Boateng discusses topics including the ongoing pandemic and racism as he reflects on Bayern Munich’s successful domestic season.
He spoke about how winning titles feels different each time, and how he felt more alive lifting the trophy this season. “Every season has its own story,” he said. “For me personally, there have been one or two titles in which I’ve not been able to make as much of a contribution because of injuries. You’re always part of the team, but it just feels more complete when you’re actively involved on the pitch. I’m very happy that I got back into my usual rhythm over the course of this season. I enjoyed football again.”
Even though most major football leagues around the world tackled the adversities caused by the pandemic and were able to pick from where they left off, the few months of lockdown and despair have affected the players in different ways. Boateng spoke about what recent events have taught him:
“I think everyone’s had time to think about themselves and about life a bit more deeply. Personally, I have to say I’ve realised that I sometimes get too stressed when it’s not necessary. I’ve really enjoyed spending more time with my children, reading and just appreciating what’s important in life again. We shouldn’t take everything for granted all the time. If there is anything positive to be gained from this crisis, it may be that some people have hopefully woken up, questioned themselves and thought about what role they want to play in this world.”
Racism has always been the evil that lingers in our society, including the corners of every football stadium. In light of the recent events which triggered a wave of anguish and rage against racism around the world, Boateng voiced his opinion about treating people differently due to their race or religion.
“It’s a very worrying and shocking development. I think for many people it is difficult to understand the pain that is triggered when you are treated differently because of the colour of your skin or because of your religion. I think it all starts with education: no person is born a racist. If you grow up with hatred, which maybe comes from your parents, it is hard to get out of this cycle.”
I'm standing up for all my brothers and sisters that haven’t had the luck that I’ve had, for those who haven‘t had the privilege to show their talent on a certain level. Before all that I was a boy like thousands or millions out there. I know how it feels to be insulted ... 1/3 pic.twitter.com/9fZSslpJOF— Jérôme Boateng (@JeromeBoateng) June 4, 2020
“Maybe this issue should be taken up more in the school curriculum – not as a separate subject, but simply more thoroughly in the discussion. I think it is important to teach children that there is no better or worse skin colour. People look different, otherwise it would be boring. But we all have the same blood in our veins, and when we step on the sand, there is always the same footprint,” added the World Cup winner.
On March 5 this year, Bayern Munich kicked off their Reds Against Racism campaign, as a part of telling the world that football knows no borders. Here’s what Boateng had to say about his club “showing racism the red card” and subsequently integrating Black Lives Matter in its message:
“It’s an important signal to the whole industry and one that FC Bayern, as a global brand, has sent to the world. When one of the biggest clubs on the planet sends out a message like that, the images are seen everywhere. It was precisely the right approach, and I hope it’s also an example to other clubs. I think it’s very good and important that FC Bayern always has an eye on social issues. It was also 100% right that the whole club showed its support for the Black Lives Matter movement.”
It’s heartwarming to see players like Boateng break the shackles and get what they deserve.