Borussia Dortmund have ordered star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to button it after repeatedly saying that he may leave at the end of the season.
“We spoke briefly and I advised him to give less interviews about the summer and to concentrate on the hunt for a Champions League place,” Dortmund director of sport Michael Zorc told local newspaper WAZ.
Aubameyang, the Bundesliga’s top scorer this season with 16 goals in 16 games, angered Zorc after giving two interviews recently when he openly admitted that he is considering leaving in June.
The Gabon striker has a Dortmund contract until 2020, but has made it clear he wants to eventually play for Real Madrid to keep a promise he made to his grandfather just before he died.
Late last month, the 27-year-old told sports daily Fussball Bild that he may leave Dortmund in June, but insisted he would never join German rivals Bayern Munich.
Then this week he told French radio station RMC that he is pondering a transfer “to reach the next level” in his career.
Despite stern words with Aubameyang, Zorc made it clear the club’s relationship with their star striker has not been affected.
“We have a very, very good relationship, but we had to set a marker, inside and out, that the focus now has to be on the sport,” said Zorc.
Dortmund, who are fourth in the table, host second-placed RB Leipzig on Saturday in a key Bundesliga clash having lost 1-0 at the Bundesliga new boys in September.
Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl was dismissive when asked if Aubameyang’s talk of leaving would unsettle Dortmund.
“It would only be an advantage if he didn’t play,” said Hasenhuettl drily.
“I don’t know many clubs who are more powerful than Borussia Dortmund, so I don’t know what the next step (for Aubameyang) should be, but everyone has to decide for himself.”
Dortmund are home to Bundesliga rivals Hertha Berlin next Wednesday in the third round of the German Cup and play Benfica away in the Champions League on February 14. – Agence France-Presse