Dedryck Boyata left Celtic on a free transfer in the summer with the Belgian international moving to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga and has put the record straight on the rumours that he went on strike to force a move in an interview with SportsBild via Sport Witness.
Boyata was a key player in Celtic’s dominance of Scottish football for four years and an integral part of the unprecedented “Treble Treble”. The Belgian won everything in his time in Scotland and was still a regular for the national side including appearances in the 2018 World Cup.
He was in the Scottish Premiership “Team of the Year” in his final season which shows his commitment to the Parkhead club despite his contract running out. So what did Boyata have to say on the matter when asked about downing tools:
“It’s not true, I was accused of strikes last summer so I could move. I also played through the season, was in the Scottish team of the year and played my part in the title.
“The truth is, I’ve won everything at Celtic in four years. But it was time to start something new. The Bundesliga is a good challenge for me.”
As Boyata stated, he had given four good years service to Celtic and had even stayed a year longer after being promised a move in the summer of 2018 if the club could find a suitable replacement. Boyata’s agent had spoken about Celtic not being entirely honest about the situation claiming that they weren’t interested in engaging with interested parties.
Boyata played 32 times for Celtic last season and only missed games through injury. So despite not being allowed to leave the club he continued to play and perform to a high standard, far from going on strike.
He was entitled to speak to other clubs once he was in the last six months of his contract and eventually he agreed a deal with Hertha Berlin. Celtic decided that losing him for free was an acceptable loss after he’d played his part in securing another treble. Just because they were unable to find a suitable replacement wasn’t Boyata’s fault, but it is also understandable on Celtic’s part that they didn’t want to lose a key player without a replacement.
Boyata wasn’t helped by his agent in the whole matter but he remained professional and was entitled to move on given the level of service Celtic received from him. At the peak of his career he wanted to better himself and the Bundesliga is of significantly greater quality than the Scottish Premiership. He should’ve been thank for his time at the club and left with their best wishes. Football, as we all know, doesn’t always quite work out like that though.