Rohr on Barcelona's Aubameyang: 'I tried to get German discipline into his head'

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang GabunGetty

Former Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr has explained how he handled Barcelona striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during their time with the Gabon national team.

Although Rohr – who was in charge of Gabon between 2010 and 2012 - affirmed he got along well with the former Arsenal striker, he stated he tried to instil punctuality.

"We got along very well," Rohr responded, in an interview with Sport Bild when asked if Aubameyang sometimes drove him to despair.

"I tried to get a bit of German discipline into his head, like punctuality, for example. It wasn't easy, but he's made great strides in that direction, and accepted it. However, you should be careful not to destroy your creativity with too much discipline.

"We have a very good relationship. As Bundesliga fans know, he is a bit extravagant with his clothes, his glasses, and his haircut. An experience makes me smile today."

The German coach also recalled their time at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and especially during a crucial penalty shootout.

"In the quarter-finals of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon against Mali, we had to go to penalties after extra time in the heat," Rohr added.

"I've been thinking about my list of shooters. When I announced whose turn it was when, he cut me off and said, ‘Coach, I want to be last to shoot.’ Because then he wanted to be celebrated [laughs].

"Normally the best shooters should go first, but he really wanted to shoot at the end. Unfortunately, his plan didn't work out, he missed, and we were kicked out. That's a little anecdote that's also funny after so many years."

On Aubameyang’s move from the Premier League to La Liga’s Barcelona, the former Nigeria coach feels the transfer is good for the retired Gabon striker.

"His mother is of Spanish origin, he has always dreamed of Spain," concluded Rohr. "I knew he really wanted to go to Barca, couldn't wait to play there. He was at Arsenal for four years, and by the end, it had rubbed off a bit. Aubameyang needed a new challenge. And it fits.

"In this huge stadium in Barcelona, the playing surface is very large, so Aubameyang can use his speed very well. And he puts his heart into it."

Rohr: ‘I tried to get German discipline into Aubameyang’s head’

Do you think Rohr had improved Aubameyang in any way?