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The Ghanaian Prince

People may not realize that Milan is flush with royalty. There is El Shaarawy, “il Faraone,” Aquilani, “il Principino” or “the little Prince,” and there is our Ghanaian Prince, Kevin Prince Boateng. All of these “royal” players wear the same red and black striped jersey, yet none of them are created equal. While they all bring their own talents and abilities to the team, there is only one who has a royal title in his legal name, and that is Kevin Prince Boateng.



My first particular awareness of Kevin Prince Boateng was while he played for Porstsmouth in 2009-10. He became infamous for a nasty tackle on Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack that injured and cost the latter his chance at his last World Cup with Germany. And despite admitting the tackle was “stupid” and apologizing to Ballack, for me, it was an unforgiveable sin. I liked Michael Ballack, so now I hated Boateng (as did much of the footballing world.)

Funny how things can change when the big bad bully is on your side. When I heard Milan had signed him, I was kind of sick to my stomach. How could we sign this monster, and would he even bring anything but red cards and fines and trouble to our team? But I have to say that he did not seem like a bully at all when he came to Milan. In fact, he worked very hard and quickly developed a good rapport with the other players. Once I learned a little bit more about him, I realized that I should have never judged a player by a single foul.


Kevin Prince Boateng was born March 6, 1987 in West Germany. From 7 years old on he played football for the youth teams of Hertha Berlin. He made his senior team debut in 2005, just barely 18 years old. He made 42 appearances for the club through 2007.

During this time, he also played with the German U-15, U-16, U-17, U-19 and U21 sides. In 2005, he was awarded the bronze medal for outstanding German youth football performances while with the U18 team. In 2006, he was awarded the Fritz Walter gold medal and 20,000 euros prize money for the best youth football performances while on the U19 team. Very impressive.

This guy knows how to celebrate a goal

With dual citizenship, Boateng could have played for either Ghana or Germany. In fact, Ghana offered him a chance to play in the 2006 World Cup, but he declined. Somewhere between some things that happened during the Toulon Tournament in 2007 and maybe some media meddling, Prince was no longer being called up to play for Germany. So in 2009, he announced that he would instead play for Ghana, citing a lack of opportunities to play for Germany anymore. He went on to represent Ghana in the 2010 World Cup where Ghana met Germany and he ended up playing against his half brother, Jerome Boateng, who played for the German National team. This is the only time brothers have faced off on the same field in an international tournament. They came close to playing against one another again in this year’s Audi Cup Tournament, but due to substitutions were not actually on the field at the same time.

Back to his club career, Prince’s next move would be to Tottenham in 2007. He only made 14 appearances for the club in the first season and a half and was subsequently loaned out to Borussia Dortmund for the second half of the season in 2009, where he made 10 appearances. Next up was a move to Portsmouth, where he signed a 3 year contract, but only made 22 appearances with them, one being the fateful FA Cup match with Chelsea. In addition to the Ballack incident, he also had a penalty kick saved in that match. Not a good day.

Finally, something to scream about

So you’re down and out, playing for your second choice country, have this gigantic mediastorm hounding you for one bad foul, what’s a footballer to do? Move on. Move teams, move leagues. And so it was that he was sold to Genoa and immediately loaned out to Milan for the 2010-11 season.

The rest is history. He was just what we needed in our midfield, energy, strength, and pace. He earned a starting spot in the lineup and was like a catalyst toward our Scudetto run last season. As pledged, once his contract was bought out by Milan, he tattooed a no. 18 Scudetto tattoo on his arm. He had also promised to do a Michael Jackson style moonwalk in the event that Milan should win the Scudetto, which he came through in flying colors on the night of the trophy presentation at the San Siro:



While Boateng’s temperament has sometimes caused him trouble, his personality can also be very charming and endearing. And while he’s not always earned the start for club or country, his talent is undeniable. He is a very motivated and hardworking player, and a teammate who is both fun but also true. Perhaps it’s just because Allegri has transformed Milan into the reformed brute squad, but he really fits right in at the club. We are very lucky to have acquired him, and I hope he stays for a long time.

The feeling is mutual, Prince

As for my Ballack bias, it has melted away. I mean it’s a shame he didn’t get to play his last World Cup, but if it hadn’t been Boateng, it could have been anyone. Certainly, we have not seen any indication from Boateng that such an atrocity would ever happen again, so I guess you could say I’m over it. In fact, with his amazing Moonwalk, even the media is over it. Long live the Prince!!


This post inspired by the music of Jane’s Addiction