Former Bayern Munich center-back Jerome Boateng has had a long and storied career.
The veteran defender, however, knows he would have done a few things differently along the way.
So what advice would Boateng give his younger self, if possible?
“That he should enjoy being on the pitch even more, that he should play freely. You might not see it, but I’m the obsessive type, I want to do everything perfectly,” said Boateng in a recent interview with FCBayern.com. “Especially in my maiden season, I was very nervous and tense before matches, which is why I made a few mistakes. I played the ball too hastily, I committed stupid fouls. Jupp Heynckes was very important for me back then, he said: ‘Jérôme, you have it all, but you have to play a calmer game. Enjoy it.’ That all came with time.”
Boateng, though, thinks that both he — and the club — had to get used to each other when he made the move from Manchester City in 2011.
“I don’t think Bayern had had a character like me before. I’m just not your run-of-the-mill type. But of course I also had to get used to Bayern. I’d never felt the pressure of having to win every game before. But it totally suited me. I hate losing, even as a child it was always a disaster for me.”
Even with — what he considers — a bit of a rocky start in Bavaria, Boateng never lost sight of why he wanted to play for Bayern Munich.
”The first thing I dreamed of when I joined Bayern was to become German champion — and to play in the Champions League. It was an extreme experience to make it to the ‘Finale dahoam’ and then to fail so spectacularly,” said Boateng. “A year later, we actually won the cup. As a child, I always watched the finals at home on our little TV. To be able to hoist the trophy myself really was incredible.”