Sunday November 14th 2021
Gelsenkirchen instead of Manchester
“Prince” Boateng settles with Schalke 04
Kevin-Prince Boateng is what you call a wandering bird. Over the years he moves from club to club. In an interview, he lets it be known that two changes in particular have made him the person he is.
The world was at Kevin-Prince Boateng’s feet, but he decided on Schalke 04. “I had the opportunity to switch to Manchester United. I decided on Germany – you saw what happened to me at Schalke “, chatted the Hertha returnees on the club’s own TV channel. The move from AC Milan back to the Bundesliga at the time was one of the two things he regretted in his career.
“The first is that I left Hertha so early. The second thing is that I moved from Milan to Schalke,” said the Hertha midfielder, who returned to his hometown this summer after many years and countless clubs and can now admire the slowly crumbling mural by the Boateng brothers in his home district Gesundbrunnen every day.
The now 34-year-old was pulled away from Berlin early on and almost destroyed. At the age of just 20, Boateng made the leap into the English Premier League in 2007, but his move to Tottenham Hotspur was unsuccessful. Much more, he almost ruined his career. Coach Martin Jol had no use for him, he did not take place on the pitch. “I barely played and had no drive to train in the morning. I was caught in a lethargy. Nightclubs and parties were more important than football,” he said when it was all over.
Successful in Milan
“It was important to me to wear the coolest clothes and to be known in the nightclubs. I was completely on the wrong track,” he said, looking back on the time in London. Clothes, nightclubs, and buying three cars in one day couldn’t give him anything. “That didn’t make me happy. I was a broken man who lived in his own world.”
Ultimately, Boateng managed to overcome this mistake. He moved to Borussia Dortmund, played a strong half-series under Jürgen Klopp, but was sent back to England as a bad boy after a kick in the game at VfL Wolfsburg. After stints at Portsmouth and AC Milan, with whom he became Italian champion in 2011, he moved to Gelsenkirchen in 2013 for around 10 million euros. Less than two years later he was released from sports director Horst Heldt.
A “Justice Fanatic”
“If someone is not ready to do what we imagine he will not survive the next training session,” Heldt announced the day before the release after only 46 games and six goals. Boateng finally left Schalke in December 2015. Countless other clubs followed in loose succession: Via AC Milan, they went to Las Palmas, Eintracht Frankfurt, US Sassuolo, Barcelona, Florence, Besiktas, Monza and then back to Panke in the summer Berlin.
The former sports director Heldt recently looked back on the sudden Boateng-Aus in Gelsenkirchen. “Kevin is a justice fanatic and quite sensitive too. It was very painful for him at the time, but also for us,” he told the “kicker” in August. The world was at Boateng’s feet, but then came Gelsenkirchen and not Manchester. Then began the wandering years for the midfielder. At Hertha BSC he is now a so-called cabin player. He has played seven season games for the club from Berlin’s Westend so far.