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Aubameyang told to tone down Dortmund exit talk

Dortmund’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, pictured on August 27, 2016, netted 25 league goals last season, finishing second to Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, and the duo look set to lead the way again in 2016/2017

BERLIN, Germany, Feb 2 – Star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been told by Borussia Dortmund’s director of sport to tone down any talk in future interviews about leaving 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 boss Michael Zorc told local newspaper WAZ.

“He understood.”

Aubameyang, the Bundesliga’s top scorer this season with 16 goals in 16 games, fell offside with Zorc after giving two interviews recently when he openly admitted 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 out of Dortmund “to reach the next level” in his career.

But 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.

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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 Red Bull Arena to the Bundesliga new boys in September.

Dortmund are also at home to Bundesliga rivals Hertha Berlin next Wednesday in the third round of the German Cup and play Benfica away in  a last 16, first leg, Champions League tie on February 14.

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