EDGAR interviews Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng
The Champions League and World Cup-winner talks career highlights, football in the Middle East and why he thinks Messi is the best player in the world.Peter Iantorno April 19, 2015
With the Bundesliga title already all but sewn up, Bayern Munich's Champions League campaign takes on even more importance, but they go into the second leg of their quarter final tie with Porto needing to overturn a two-goal deficit, after the Portuguese side sprung a shock 3-1 win over the Germans in the first leg. But with a fearsome home record and a capacity crowd expected at the atmospheric Allianz Arena, you certainly wouldn't bet against it.
Ahead of the pivotal match in Munich's season, we caught up with their star defender, World Cup and Champions League winner, Jerome Boateng.
The World Cup [2014 win with Germany] has been the highlight of my career so far. It’s the biggest thing that you can get in your life. It’s a very emotional feeling. You really can’t describe it. The moment you lift the World Cup, you’re just full of happiness.
The role of the defender
I don’t really have a particular role model, but when I look at other defenders at Bayern and around the world, I learn from them every day. I think as a defender now you have more of the ball, you have to be good with both feet, you have to be quick, you have to be better at opening up the game. This is how I play. I like to take risks on the field, but it depends on what the score is. Magical Messi
I think that Messi is the best player in the world at the moment. He has an unbelievable left foot, he scores so many goals, he’s so quick, he’s very clever, you can’t get the ball from him and it always takes two or three players to stop him. I think Ronaldo is also unbelievable, but for me, Messi is the best.
Football in the Middle East
I hope Qatar deals with the  World Cup well, for the best of the country. It’s not so long away and I hope that everybody involved has a great experience. Dubai is great too, specially for families and couples, and I know that lots of footballers like it there! It’s nice, the weather is always great and dry and it’s a really good destination.
The teams in the Champions League are much tougher than in Germany, but that’s what we like. We want to play against the best teams. But even in Germany, it’s not hard to stay motivated when you’re ahead in the league. You always have to make new goals.
[Germany manager] Joachim Lowe isn’t difficult and [former Manchester City manager, Roberto] Mancini does more with the ball and speaks more with the players. But for me it’s interesting playing for Pep Guardiola, because you have to use your head; you have to be clever, learn lots of technical stuff and be good with the ball. It’s a lot of fun and he’s definitely one of the best coaches.
My favourite league is Germany. The stadiums are always full and lots of them are new, so that’s definitely the best league for me. In England it’s less technical but more dynamic. It’s more intensive and more physical and you’re always tired after a game. The referees don’t whistle even when it’s really a foul. There are a lot of long balls and every striker and winger is quick and very good with the ball. Playing in the Premier League was a good challenge.
Off the pitch
Before a game, I always put on all of my kit on the right side first – it’s a superstition of mine. The most relaxing thing for me is to play with my daughters. We don’t play football though – I don’t want them to play! I don’t know what I’ll do when my career has finished. At the moment I’m just enjoying playing football.
Details: Jerome Boateng spoke to EDGAR during Bayern Munich’s winter tour in Qatar sponsored by Volkswagen. Visit: volkswagen.com