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Boateng: I’m still hungry for more

Four years, nine titles and still hungry for more - Jérôme Boateng remains keen to succeed ahead of his fifth season at FC Bayern. The 26-year-old World Cup winner is determined to “move up a level” and he could fill the gap left by the departure of Bastian Schweinsteiger. “I’ve reached the point where I want, and can accept, more responsibility,” the Germany regular declared.

The central defender spoke to fcbayern.de about his drive for perfection, new pursuits in the USA and the impending FCB tour of China that has already made its mark on him.

Interview: Jérôme Boateng

fcbayern.de: Jérôme, the departure of Bastian Schweinsteiger is a couple of days ago now. How do you see the move today?
Boateng: “When you play alongside someone for so long for the national team and Bayern it does feel a bit funny when he’s not there anymore. Basti is a great player and a great bloke. He’s won virtually everything he can and played a huge part in that success. He certainly made his mark at Bayern in his time at the club. It’s important for us as a team to share out the responsibility he used to carry on his shoulders.”

fcbayern.de: Does that include yours?
Boateng: “Of course, I’ve got to play my part. I’ve reached the point where I want, and can accept, more responsibility.”

fcbayern.de: You’re about to start your fifth season at FC Bayern. How do you think you have changed since you joined the club?
Boateng: “A lot has changed. In short, I’ve matured both as a player and as a human being. I really feel at home here.”

fcbayern.de: You’ve continued to improve at FC Bayern and have played at the top level for the past two years at least. Do you think there is still room for improvement?
Boateng:
“There always is. For me, it’s all about not just staying at the top but also taking it up a level and improving for the benefit of the team. We want to achieve targets together so everybody has to give their all.”

fcbayern.de: Do you have a role model you try to emulate?
Boateng: “I don’t have role models any more. But I do keep an eye out for other defenders. Sergio Ramos, for example, or Thiago Silva, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci... There are lots of good defenders you can learn from. I think older players, who aren’t quite as quick now, are worth watching.”

fcbayern.de: You don’t have any problems with pace...
Boateng: “Not yet (he smiles). But I’m interested in how their positional play can make up for their lack of speed.”

fcbayern.de: Where does your drive for perfection and hunger come from?
Boateng: “I’m still really hungry for success. I’m doing a job I love: playing football, but unfortunately I won’t be able to do it for the rest of my life. That’s why I want to achieve as much as I can. I never want  to have to say: I could have done or achieved more in one particular year or another.”

fcbayern.de: You won the World Cup last year. Has enough time gone by to put that behind you?
Boateng: “I got over the World Cup very quickly. I haven’t watched the games in Brazil again since then. Not at all. Perhaps I might do that in a couple of years when I’ve got time. I don’t think about being a World Cup winner. It’s more the case that other people keep reminding me.”

fcbayern.de: During your holidays you put photos and videos on social media of you training. How fit are you at the moment?
Boateng: “I’ve done a lot. I’ve always made sure that I start training when I’m on holiday. But I’d gladly be further on.”

fcbayern.de: How often did you have a ball at your feet on holiday?
Boateng: “Once in New York and another time with friends - no more than that. I’ve deliberately avoided it this summer. I wanted a break from football so I played basketball and tennis instead.”

fcbayern.de: Talking about basketball: You took up a video challenge with NBA star Dennis Schröder. How did that come about?
Boateng: “By sheer chance. A mate of mine filmed me on his phone when I sank the ball in the basket on holiday. We sent it to Dennis. That’s how it started.”

fcbayern.de: And who’s move is it now?
Boateng: “It’s mine actually. But I thought his last video was boring. He needs to up his game.” (laughs)

fcbayern.de: You also used your holidays for marketing purposes and you signed a contract with the agency belonging to the rapper Jay Z. Are you moving into the music business?
Boateng: “No, no. I’m sticking with sport. Jay Z is really interested in sport and he’s had athletes and musicians on his books over the past two or three years. He made me the offer and I took it up. I want to experience something new. The Americans are far ahead of us Europeans in marketing and presentation.”

fcbayern.de: What have you got planned?
Boateng: “I’m not going to be flying off to the USA every week but I will go there when we’re not playing. When I’m over there we’ll do some marketing and charity work and look for new sponsors as well.”

fcbayern.de: The next challenge for FC Bayern is not in the Wild West but rather China in the Far East. Are you looking forward to the tour?
Boateng: “I’m curious about what we’ll find out there. I think we’ll work well, have some good friendlies and, hopefully, not be done in when we get back home.”

fcbayern.de: Just one more question: What have you done with your hair?
Boateng: (smiles) “My haircut is down to China too. It’s supposed to be very hot out there. We’ll sweat a lot and have to take a lot of showers - and I don’t feel like having to keep doing my hair.”

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