Football moves fast and it already feels like a lifetime ago since Dedryck Boyata was playing for Celtic. The Belgian revived his career under Brendan Rodgers during the invincible season and became a permanent fixture in the side until he parted ways in the summer.
The defender ran down his contract and signed a deal with Hertha Berlin shortly before his Celtic deal was up. He went to fight off relegation in the Bundesliga and take on a new adventure as well as getting paid a lot more money.
Speaking this weekend to SunSport, the player admits he got advice about leaving Celtic and moving to the German league from Roberto Martinez. He does concede the league is mouth rigged in Germany but was quick to defend the Scottish league.
“In terms of my international career, the important thing for me is to play games, whether I was at Celtic or Hertha Berlin.
“It is the manager who decides on the selection of a player and that’s based on the player and not the league he is in.
“People always say to me that it must be far better for me to play in the Bundesliga and not in the Scottish Premier League.
“I agree it is perhaps more difficult, but no one should forget Roberto Martinez picked me for Belgium when I was playing for Celtic.
“So I hate it when people denigrate the league in Scotland.
“Germany is obviously a more competitive league and I have come to a team who are fighting against relegation.
“When I was leaving Celtic and the offers came in, I spoke to Roberto Martinez. I had a lot of offers from clubs in China, but that was never in my thoughts.
“His advice was priceless and he was very happy to see me sign for Hertha.
“Since I came to Hertha, I think I am more vocal than at Celtic. Sometimes I shout so much, I can’t speak so well for a few days after.
“I now have a bit of a reputation here because of my shouting….they think I should be in an army. They call me the General here!”
Boyata cut a more quiet figure on the pitch at times and you wouldn’t have categorised him as an on field leader while at the club.
As an older and wiser player joining a new club he’s chosen to reinvent himself. As I said at the top of the article, football moves fast and now the Celtic support have a new defensive hero in Christoper Jullien who was Boyata’s direct replacement.