Jérôme Boateng may have won 25 titles in the past decade with Bayern Munich but it hasn’t always been a smooth ride for him at the German giants. Having suffered a dip in form in the Bavarians wild-west period between 2016 to 2019, Boateng appeared to be on the verge of leaving the club after former president Uli Hoeness publicly ‘advised’ him to leave the club.
Hoeness may not have trusted Boateng at the time but the defender vowed to return to his best level and “attack again” in the coming season. And what a comeback he made.
After Hansi Flick’s appointment as Bayern Munich coach, the defender slowly earned a place in the team’s starting XI, fine-tuned his overall game keeping his ageing body in mind and delivered consistent performances in all competitions. Together with Thomas Müller, the veteran proved his doubters wrong, exacted revenge on old rivals like Barcelona and conquered Europe under the guidance of coach Flick.
“Jérôme has made a great development in the last few months,” said Flick after Bayern’s 5-2 win over Augsburg in the Bundesliga finale (as captured by Sport1). “He has worked very hard to be in the shape he is in now.”
The 2020/2021 season ultimately proved to be an extremely challenging one, with a fatigued Die Roten team conceding a plethora of goals due to failing to defend collectively with the razor-sharp precision that set them apart in the previous season. Despite all the struggles, however, Boateng managed to deliver top-notch performances throughout the year.
“For me, he is one of the best centre-backs in Germany,” raved Flick.
While Müller and Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels have been rewarded with a national team callup for their impressive development since 2019, Boateng was controversially and unjustly left off by outgoing manager Joachim Low, with players like Antonio Rüdiger and Christian Günter earning a chance to play in the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament ahead of him.
“I really hoped that he would go to the European Championship. Unfortunately, it wasn’t like that,” Flick lamented, before once again stressing Boateng’s importance for the Bavarian giants. “He was the most consistent centre-back for us this season. I could always rely on him!”
It is always sad to watch a club legend like Boateng leave after ten trophy-laden years. As reported previously, the way Bayern conveyed their decision to the 32-year-old was nothing short of disappointing. Having a player with Boateng’s experience would’ve surely benefitted the club in their upcoming transition year. However, the brass ultimately decided against a one-year contract extension, despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of Niklas Süle and young center-backs Chris Richards and Lars Lukas Mai.
Boateng, on his part, would’ve welcomed an extended stay, according to Flick.
Got Me In My Feelings.— Jérôme Boateng (@JeromeBoateng) May 22, 2021
Forever Proud And Grateful ❤️ pic.twitter.com/4tBg9UK3MH
“I know how much he would have liked to stay here. Also because of his family,” said the sextuple winning coach. “But life goes on, he will make his way. I hope he gets a good club.”
In the end, Boateng repaid his Flick’s trust in spades and this coach-player partnership played an immensely important part in the club’s golden era of 2010s.