Ever since leaving Bayern Munich, Jerome Boateng has not gotten off to a flying start in Ligue 1 with Olympique Lyon. He was an integral part of Bayern’s treble-winning, 2019/20 campaign and 2021 Bundesliga title triumph, but he hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory at Lyon. They currently sit in the 12th spot in the Ligue 1 table, and personally, as was the case during his last two seasons at Bayern, he’s rarely gone for a full 90 minutes in his 13 appearances.
Despite a rough start in France, in a recent interview, Boateng said that he won’t rule out a potential return to the German national team under Hansi Flick. Along with Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller, he was cut from Die Mannschaft by Joachim Low in March 2019 and Muller is the only one of those three players to have made a return. He said that he’s already had conversations with Flick about potentially returning, but for now, it’s about focusing on improving his individual performances for Lyon and staying consistent. “We talked to each other. First of all, it is important for me to perform well for Lyon. Of course, it also means that I am successful with my team, and that is not necessarily the case at the moment. In these discussions, I concentrate on what I can influence myself in terms of sport, everything else will come by itself, if it should be,” he explained (Sport Bild).
Boateng’s fortunes would have to significantly improve if he were to have a chance of making Flick’s World Cup squad next year, but he does still have time. Flick already has a core of central defenders available to him with Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule, Matthias Ginter, Jonathan Tah, and both Marcel Halstenberg and Lukas Klostermann when they’re fit.
Boateng also spoke about leaving Bayern and how he had expected a bit different of a farewell after ten seasons with the Rekordmeister. Because of coronavirus restrictions, Boateng was only able to bid farewell to Bayern in their last Bundesliga match of the season against Augsburg in front of only 250 spectators. “I imagined my farewell differently, of course. After all these years and successes, one wishes for a sold out arena to say goodbye.,” he said. He did come off to ceremonious applause when he was replaced after 61 minutes, but that was really the only extent of his farewell after an incredibly well decorated career at Bayern.
Boateng also said that he believes former teammate Robert Lewandowski should've won the Ballon d’Or instead of Lionel Messi. He drew parallels to Franck Ribery in 2013, who missed out on winning the honor at the time in controversial fashion having had an incredibly successful year capped by winning the treble under Jupp Heynckes. “It’s a shame for Lewy because he definitely deserved it. That reminds me of 2013, when Franck didn’t get the award either. I am very sorry for Lewy. What else should he do? Stand upside down and score a goal from the center line? If the only thing that counts is to determine the best player in the world, then in terms of talent and quality it is of course either Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. But if you go by titles and statistics, in my opinion you have to evaluate it differently,” he said.