Jerome Boateng has been told to focus on his football, and forget the limelight, in the wake of Bayern Munich’s shock Champions League defeat at Rostov.
“Jerome has to calm down and take things easier (off the pitch),” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Germany’s Bild daily.
“Since the summer, it’s all been a bit too much for me.
“It would make sense for the whole club if he comes back to earth a bit.”
Just like the Bayern defence, Boateng had a night to forget in Rostov.
The burly centre-back was wrong-footed and left on the turf when Sardar Azmoun levelled for Rostov to cancel out Douglas Costa’s opener.
The 28-year-old then conceded the penalty Dmitry Poloz converted to make it 2-1 to the Russians.
Boateng went off with a thigh injury, but should be fit for Saturday’s Bundesliga match at home to Bayer Leverkusen, before Christian Noboa scored Rostov’s third.
Boateng has matured into one of the world’s best defenders, but his alleged off-field exploits have clearly annoyed Rummenigge.
He has a strong presence on social media, posting pictures alongside the likes of Hollywood star Bill Murray, and has a collaboration with music mogul Jay Z in the US market.
Boateng has his own range of glasses and flew to London, with Bayern’s blessing, for an NFL game in October but says his lifestyle has nothing to do with his performances.
“The criticism of our, and also my, performance is justified. I did not play well,” Boateng told Bild.
“That’s because after my injury at the European Championship and late return for pre-season, I am not yet at 100 percent.
“The reason for this is not because of some PR appointment or public appearance.
“Anyone who knows me, knows that I always do everything to be in top form.
“I am glad the injury is not bad and that I can maybe play on Saturday.”
Both Bayern and Boateng need to knuckle down.
Last weekend, the Bavarian giants were supplanted as Bundesliga leaders by RB Leipzig, who are enjoying a record-breaking first season in Germany’s top flight, and lost 1-0 to Borussia Dortmund.
And the defeat to Rostov means they will only qualify second behind Atletico Madrid from their Champions League group.
Philipp Lahm said Bayern were “careless” in losing for the first time to a Russian team in the Champions League.
For the second time this season Bayern are winless in their last three matches in all competitions, putting coach Carlo Ancelotti under pressure.
Rummenigge has dismissed any talk of replacing Pep Guardiola’s successor, but there is no denying Bayern are faltering.
“As a coach, I have to take responsibility so we can quickly get back on track,” said the Italian.
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