Jerome Boateng: 'My daughters say I should score more goals'
February 15, 2018
German international Jerome Boateng is one of the Bundesliga's top defenders. The Bayern Munich man spoke to DW about his hopes for the World Cup in Russia, fatherhood and making his mark in the world of fashion.
Jerome Boateng has won and done it all, but two of his biggest fans aren't completely satisfied with his performance on the football pitch.
"My daughters always say 'you have to score more often,'" Boateng said in an exclusive interview with DW.
"Fatherhood has changed my whole life. When you have two daughters you are complete. The whole day changes for you. It's a lot about them, how you act, how you feel and when they were born; it's a completely new situation... Of course sometimes you have to say: 'No, this isn't right.' But I always wanted to be a young father and I am very proud of them."
The man who played key roles in a record five consecutive Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich, won the Champions League in 2013 and was superb in the World Cup with Germany in 2014 aspires first and foremost to be a role model for his children. But being a father, is no easy job.
Plagued by injury
While this challenge is a new one for the 29-year-old, Boateng wouldn't have gotten to where he is today if he hadn't long since developed the self-discipline needed to make it as a professional footballer. However, he also admits that as a youngster, resisting the temptations beyond football that cities like his native Berlin have to offer, wasn't always easy.
"Your friends want to go out at night, they want to have fun, girls... But this is the time when you have to focus," Boateng said.
Boateng progressed through the youth ranks at Hertha Berlin before moving to Hamburg and then on to the Premier League and Manchester City. The move to England didn't go as planned and injuries hampered his development. When he joined Bayern Munich in 2011, few expected him to become such an important player for both club and country.
"This was my dream and I worked hard for it," Boateng said. "Of course there were situations when I thought it wasn't going to work out the way I wanted.
"I had injuries — even when I was younger I had problems with my back. I had to grow up very fast. So the key point is that you have to believe in yourself and of course you have to be on point when you get the chance. As a young player, you have to perform."
Becoming a brand name
Determined not to miss a step, Boateng has capitalized on his fame by launching a fashion line and is pushing his brand in the United States with Jay-Z's music label Roc Nation.
"It was amazing… it's a dream. Jay-Z is one of the biggest stars in the world and such an icon. He was so down to earth. It was like talking to a friend," the defender said. "I have huge respect for how he handles everything."
Boateng's grand plans with one of music's biggest stars might suggest a man thinking beyond his station, but being more than just a footballer is something Boateng had in mind in all the way back in his teenage years.
"My mother always told me you can open a shop, and the idea started when I was 13 or 14 years old," he said. "'Oh those shoes, I want to have them in different colors,' I thought. And then it started out. I can't stop. I still love shoes, I love sneakers."
All the tools needed to be a success in the business
While many footballers enter business ventures off the pitch, few make a success of it. But according to Michael Yormark, president of Roc Nation, the fact that Boateng's brand has become such a success, really shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
"Jerome is one of the premier players in the world. He is a great athlete, but he also has these interests off the field," he told the BBC in 2015. "He loves fashion, entertainment and music — all of which makes him very marketable and opens up doors with brands."
Roc Nation looks after the likes of National Basketball Association (NBA) all-star Kevin Durant and Boateng hopes that his notoriety in the United States will grow as Bayern Munich, who opened an office in New York in 2016, expand their appeal and fan base across the pond.
Boateng won't have to travel that far for the World Cup this summer. After being part of history with Germany four years ago, he knows that defending the title in Russia will be tough, but he's also excited about the prospect.
However, whether he can ever score enough goals to satisfy the demands of his two biggest fans, remains to be seen.