Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has been forced to leave the club’s pre-season tour for personal reasons, but manager Niko Kovac was full of praise for the German.
Boateng has been heavily linked with a move away from the club this summer, having struggled to hold down a permanent place in Kovac’s lineup last season.
In a post on their official website, Bayern gave no hint as to why Boateng has left the pre-season tour, citing “private reasons” as the cause of his premature departure on Sunday.
Speaking to the press (via Yahoo) after Bayern’s 3-1 victory over Real Madrid, Kovac insisted that he has been incredibly impressed with what Boateng has brought to the side this summer.
He said: “If you look at his performance, we can say that he had a great game [against Real]. He played like we know he can play, like he used to play – something that he has already shown us in training.”
Kovac later added (via the Bundesliga’s official website): “I’m very satisfied with Jerome, as I am with the rest of the squad as well. His concentration and quality are exceedingly good.”
Boateng was restricted to just 20 appearances in the league last season, as Mats Hummels and Niklas Sule dominated the lineup.
Hummels has now left the club to join Borussia Dortmund, but he has been replaced by Atletico Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez, so first-team opportunities may still be hard to come by for Boateng.
The likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain have been heavily linked with a potential move for the 30-year-old, although Kovac’s latest words suggest there may still be a place for Boateng in the team once he returns.