Still only 32, it seems as though Kevin-Prince Boateng has been around forever.
He's represented clubs in four of Europe's top five leagues but there remains a feeling that his career never really hit the heights that it should have.
🤺 KP's style
Boateng has always been known as an imposing footballer with numerous physical attributes. He's quick, aggressive, dynamic and capable of playing a complete, box-to-box midfield role and chipping in with the odd spectacular goal. There's also a flamboyance to his game which makes him fun to watch but, unfortunately, that's accompanied by inconsistency and unpredictability. Kevin-Prince was born with numerous technical and physical football gifts but he's never been able to knit them all together for prolonged periods to become one of the best central midfielders in the world. The potential was certainly there.
In recent years, he's reinvented his style and become more of a second striker and has been deployed as an out-and-out striker for new club Fiorentina, with the number 10 on his back.
Here's a quick look at the beautiful golazo that he scored for Las Palmas against Villlarreal back in 2016.
🇩🇪 ♻️ 🇬🇭 Switching international allegiances
Boateng was born in Germany and represented the European side at numerous youth international levels up until the U21s. In 2007, he was expelled from the U21 group for breaking a curfew at the Toulon Tournament in France. He was called up again in 2009 but Boateng informed German authorities that he no longer wished to represent Germany at any level.
He switched his allegiance to Ghana in 2010 and was selected in Ghana's squad for the first African World Cup, staged in South Africa.
🔥 Boateng the big game player
During World Cup 2010, Ghana faced Germany in the group stages and Kevin-Prince would come up against brother Jerome in the first-ever meeting between brothers at a World Cup tournament.
Kevin-Prince scored a brilliant solo goal against the USA at the round of 16 stage, dribbling half the length of the pitch, and he also assisted Asamoah Gyan's winner to cap a brilliant individual display. His performance would propel the Black Stars to the quarterfinals where they fell in heartbreaking fashion to Uruguay.
In 2011, Boateng announced his retirement from international football but he reversed that decision in time for a World Cup qualification playoff clash against Egypt. It was Boateng who would score the goal that clinched Ghana's place at the 2014 showpiece.
🙃 Expulsion from Brazil 2014
Kevin-Prince was a substitute in Ghana's group opener in a 2-1 defeat to the USA, and he started their 2-2 draw with Germany, the eventual champions and a team containing his brother yet again.
Controversy has never been far around the corner for Boateng, however, and so it proved again in the buildup to Ghana's final group game. Just hours before Ghana's meeting with Portugal, Boateng was sent home and suspended after allegedly verbally abusing former coach James Kwesi Appiah. Boateng and fellow star player Sulley Muntari's expulsion from the group meant that they would never represent the Black Stars again. Kevin-Prince's modest total of 15 caps should really have been a much higher number.
🏔 KP's career path
- 2004-2007: Hertha Berlin
- 2007-2009: Tottenham Hotspur
- 2009: Borussia Dortmund (loan)
- 2009-2010: Portsmouth
- 2010: Genoa (immediately loaned to AC Milan)
- 2010-2013: AC Milan
- 2013-2015: Schalke
- 2016: AC Milan
- 2016-2017: Las Palmas
- 2017-2018: Eintracht Frankfurt
- 2018-2019: Sassuolo
- 2019: Barcelona (loan)
- 2019: Fiorentina
It's clear from Boateng's career path that he has never really settled at a club. His best football, arguably, was produced during his first stint with AC Milan where the Rossoneri won the 2010/2011 Scudetto. Boateng was a first-team regular, often combining to deadly effect with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alex Pato, Robinho and Clarence Seedorf as the sharpest point of Massimiliano Allegri's midfield diamond formation.
At Sassuolo, he was utilized as a false 9 striker and his performances earned him a surprise loan move to Barcelona as a backup to Luis Suarez, but the Ghanaian only made four appearances in total across LaLiga and the Copa Del Rey for the Spanish giants in what turned out to be a disastrous move.
In many ways, Kevin-Prince Boateng has become a victim of his own gifts, talents, lack of focus and indiscipline. It's anyone's guess where he'll end up next but there's every possibility we will see him in the United States MLS or the Qatar First division before his playing days are done.
Until then, we'll be keeping an eye on KP's performances with Fiorentina, and think to ourselves what might have been for one of Africa's most gifted footballers of his generation.
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