Dedryck Boyata has hit out at Brendan Rodgers and Chris Sutton for the way that his intentions to leave Celtic Park were construed in the media, vilifying him in the eyes of the support as a troublemaker who didn’t want to be at the club.
The Hertha Berlin captain joined from Man City in 2015 as a replacement for Jason Denayer and despite playing in the first team during his debut season, he fell out of the first team picture as Brendan Rodgers took charge only to make an incredible resurgence in 2017 to become a mainstay in the Invincible Treble winning side. Speaking to Nedum Onuoah on ‘Kickback with Nedum’ podcast, Boyata was emotional about his departure from Celtic Park.
“Brendan Rodgers had an interview where he said ‘it’s difficult to win games when we have fit players at home, who don’t want to help the team. From this interview, Chris Sutton was so hurtful. Honestly, he was so hurtful that I wrote down everything he said. He said something like ‘you need to kick him out of the team!’
“At that moment, I just felt… I spoke to every single player about my situation. The captain, the goalkeeper… these guys were affected by the situation. They wanted to go to the Champions League. They said ‘we need to find the best situation for Dedryk.’
“From that moment, I was finished. I came back the day after and went to speak to the manager. “How can you do this to me? How can you put me in the situation? You know everything that was going on, you were aware of everything”. He protected himself, he protected the team, and I was the bad guy.”
Boyata made 135 appearances for the Scottish Champions, scoring 15 goals and assisting 9 times. He left the club for Berlin on a free transfer after failing to agreeing a deal with Celtic. The player was a consistent performer for Celtic and probably should have been rewarded with a new deal but it appeared as if the club and player were at crossroads with the player expecting to be allowed to make a move to La Liga or the Premier League.
Rodgers outed Boyata as a Celtic wantaway before a crucial game against AEK Athens in The Champions League Qualifiers, a tie which ultimately put Celtic out. However, the mood around Celtic was horrific as Brendan Rodgers appeared to battle with the board over the John McGinn saga and the argument seemed to include Rodgers offering Boyata as a human shield.
At the end of the season, an injured Boyata collected his Premiership medal and remarked that he would have stayed if the circumstances had been different and more would come out about his departure. The player was clearly hurt that the Green Brigade held up an ‘unfit to wear the jersey’ banner after Rodgers fed the defender to the wolves.
In retrospect, given the way that Rodgers left and the way the club have since acted with Neil Lennon and transfers, it is likely that Boyata and Dembele ended up in the middle of a spat with Rodgers and Peter Lawwell. Ultimately though, things could have and should have been better but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Boyata is doing well in Germany and we wish him all the best.