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Medal-hunter Boateng

‘You have to stay hungry’

Jérôme Boateng was recently named the most stylish man in Germany by a leading men’s magazine, so it’s no surprise that he looks sharp in training gear too. However, with no squad workout during the day in Doha on Monday, he was allowed the luxury of leaving his football boots in his locker when he addressed reporters at the team hotel. “I’m not tired yet,” the defender told the media, “but it’s nice to have a morning to yourself. We still have plenty of training sessions to go.”

The first of those is on Monday evening when Pep Guardiola will again take charge of his troops on the lush Aspire Academy turf. It means there was only the briefest of opportunities for Boateng to bask in the stirring achievements of recent months, which he says have given him new reserves of self-assurance: the centre-back has been in superb form so far this term. “But there’s no time to sit back and enjoy it. You always have to stay hungry and seek to improve, otherwise you’ll never hit your new targets.”

Nevertheless, the positive vibes from Germany’s triumph in Brazil have yet to ebb completely. “The World Cup has given every player even more confidence. A tournament like that spurs you on,” Boateng said. “We’ve experienced a lot of positive things and won trophies with FC Bayern and the national team. I’ve also developed in the right way personally. Let’s hope it continues.”

Boateng played a key role as Bayern laid the foundations for success this term with an outstanding first half of the campaign. However, the fruits of that effort cannot be harvested for some months yet  “We’re well-placed in every competition,” the player said, “there are plenty of trophies to win and our priority has to be doing just that.” The Champions League final happens to be in Boateng’s home town of Berlin this year, another motivating factor for the 26-year-old: “It would be a massive experience for me.”

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