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Football Genius: Kevin-Prince Boateng

6/4/12

Kevin-Prince Boateng was born 6 March 1987. He s a German-born Ghanaian professional footballer, who plays as a midfielder for Serie A club Milan. Boateng made his first team debut against Eintracht Frankfurt in the second round of the 2005–06 Bundesliga season, being brought on at the beginning of the second half, he then impressed during the game, and was on the fringe of the first team from then on, despite barely being 18 years old at the time. Boateng continued his rise, and started his first Bundesliga match in the 2–2 draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 14th round of the Bundesliga season.
Earlier on in his career, Boateng developed a serious shopping addiction as a result of personal problems. Boateng claims that he still owns "around 100 59Fifty caps and 100 Billionaire Boys Club caps, around 20 Martin Margiela leather jackets, and 160 pairs of Berluti shoes" following the ordeal. Other things the footballer is known to have bought include a Lamborghini Aventador and a Lamborghini Murciélago, a Hummer H3, and a Cadillac CTS-V. Boateng has since overcome this problem and sold all four of his cars, citing how he, "was broken in another world" due to the effects of it. Boateng calls himself "The Ghetto Kid" because he was brought up in the poor Wedding locality of Berlin. In official documents, his name is given as Kevin Boateng, but he prefers the name Prince and Kevin-Prince in honour of his father, Prince Boateng, Sr. He married his long term girlfriend Jennifer two days after signing with Tottenham Hotspur. Boateng has 26 tattoos. In September 2011, Boateng divorced his German wife Jennifer, ending their four-year marriage, and since the start of October 2011, he has been dating Italian-American model Melissa Satta. Following Boateng's divorce, his ex-wife returned to Germany with their son, Jermaine-Prince. 
Boateng plays with his middle name, Prince, on his shirt. He played nine games for Ghanaian national team after appearing for Germany's under-15s to their under-21s; he retired from international football on 4 November 2011. Boateng is known for his strength, footspeed, ball-juggling tricks and offensive abilities. Boateng has received praise from George Weah for his attributes and Dejan Savićević has branded him as one of Europe's best footballers. Boateng stated that he identifies Pelé and Rivaldo as his role models, occasionally imitating the Brazilian duo with crowd-pleasing moments while he was with Hertha. His love of playing to the gallery would draw applause, but had also attracted a fair share of criticism too. The Germany Under-19 coach, Uli Stielike criticized him for it. Boateng has since cut down on those antics. 
Sport director Matthias Sammer and DFB coach Horst Hrubesch honored the talented player with the gold prize winner award and the €20,000 prize-money at the Stadtbauraum, Gelsenkirchen in Germany on 16 August 2006. Boateng also won the Bronze Medal Award in the Under-18 category in 2005. 
Boateng signed a contract with Tottenham Hotspur in July 2007, for a reported fee of £5.4 million. He played his first match in the Premier League on 3 November 2007, against Middlesbrough. With the departure of Tottenham manager Martin Jol, and the arrival of Juande Ramos and several high profile players, Boateng was pushed out of the first team and into the reserves. On 27 July 2006, Boateng was awarded the Fritz Walter Gold Medal in the Under-19 category. The medal is awarded on the basis of performances for the German Under-17, Under-18 and Under-19 national teams. A jury consisting of German Football Association (DFB), youth coaches, and members of the DFB Board, put Boateng top of the poll. Boateng returned to the first team the following season under new coach Harry Redknapp before being loaned out during the January transfer window of 2009 to Borussia Dortmund for the remainder of the season. Boateng then returned to Tottenham at the end of the 2008–09 season. His last game for Tottenham came as a substitute in the club's 5–1 win in the Football League Cup over Doncaster Rovers in August 2009. He scored his first Portsmouth goal in a 3–2 loss against Bolton Wanderers and was named Portsmouth's Player of the Month in September 2009. 
With Portsmouth, Boateng reached the 2010 FA Cup Final, where they met Chelsea. In the 1–0 defeat Boateng fouled Michael Ballack, causing partially torn right ankle ligaments which ruled the German captain out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which as a result was also the end of Ballack's international football career. Boateng then had a penalty saved by goalkeeper Petr Čech in the 54th minute of the match. At end of the match Boateng apologized for the tackle on Ballack. 
Boateng made his competitive debut for Milan on 29 August 2010 in their 4–0 win against Lecce after coming on in the 75th minute. On 15 September 2010, Boateng made his debut in the UEFA Champions League for Milan in their 2–0 win against AJ Auxerre at the San Siro, coming on in the 15th minute for Massimo Ambrosini. His first goal for the club came in a 3–0 win against Brescia. In May 2011, Milan purchased full economic rights to Boateng from Genoa. On October 23 he scored three goals for Milan against Lecce in a comeback after going down 0-3 at half time. Milan won the match 4-3. Boateng transferred to Italian Serie A club Genoa C.F.C. on 17 August 2010, for €5.75 million, and immediately joined Milan on loan. However, as anticipated by Milan CEO Adriano Galliani, the contract was later switched from loan to co-ownership, for €5.25 million (in cash plus player deal). As part of the contract, Giacomo Beretta moved to Genoa C.F.C., in co-ownership deal for €4 million. 
On 23 November, Boateng scored a spectacular goal in a Champions League match against F.C. Barcelona at the San Siro. On 15 February, Boateng scored the opening goal in a 4–0 home win against Arsenal at the San Siro in the Round of 16 of UEFA Champions League 2011-12. 
Boateng has a Ghanaian father and a German mother. His father, Prince Boateng, Sr., left Ghana in 1981 hoping for a break in Germany, where he wanted to study administration, however was unsuccessful and he ended up disc jockeying and working as a waiter. Boateng was one-and-a-half-years-old when his father left the family home. His mother, Catherine Boateng, ended up working long hours to take care of Boateng and his brother George. His uncle, Robert Boateng is a former member of the Ghana national team and his maternal grandfather is a cousin of legendary German football star Helmut Rahn, scorer of the winning goal in the 1954 FIFA World Cup Final. As well as Boateng's brothers, George and Jérôme, he has one sister, Avelina. Both brothers are football players, with the youngest of the two brothers, Jérôme, also having previously been at Hertha BSC and now playing with Bayern Munich and the German national team.
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