Kevin-Prince Boateng once bought three cars in a day and wasted money on girls, alcohol and ‘fake friends’… but now the man who gave a speech at the UN has turned his life around and wants to advise the next generation
He once stood-up in front of the UN and delivered a speech on racism; if FIFA ever want someone to go into clubs and talk about the pitfalls of paying youngsters fortunes with no thought for how they might handle it, Kevin-Prince Boateng would do a pretty good job of that too.
‘It’s true,’ he says when asked to verify the tale of him buying three cars in a day while a young player at Tottenham.
‘I still have a picture at home of me standing in-front of three cars and a big house and I’m standing there like I’m 50 Cent. I look at it sometimes and I say: “look how stupid you were”.
He makes a good case for young professionals needing more help: ‘If you’re 18, you don’t know anything. And today if you are 18 you get five million net a year. You buy the world! That is exactly what you think: I can buy the world. I buy friends, I buy girls, I buy cars, I buy everything.’
Boateng’s move to Spurs was 10 years ago this summer. It ended after two seasons and barely 24 appearances. But it didn’t finish him.
He was inspired by a young Jurgen Klopp while on loan at Dortmund and he ended up winning Serie A alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He’ll be 30 next month and he’s the only player still playing who has scored in all four top European leagues.
Back in 2007 Boateng was the Memphis Depay of his day. Spurs director of football Damien Comolli signed him from Hertha Berlín, but later admitted: ‘We just looked at the talent. We forgot to look at the individual off the pitch.’
He had grown up with his mother and older brother George in a run-down part of Berlin. ‘Named in the top ten… but in a negative way,’ he says, adding that the adjacent Koloniestraße was a no-go zone for the police except when they were investigating a shooting.
Now he found himself living alone in Loughton, near Spurs’ training ground. And training was soon all he was doing, after Martin Jol froze him out.
‘Jol told me after a month that he didn’t want me. So it felt like me against the world; you know that feeling when you shut-off?’ he says.
‘I had a lot of money for a 20-year-old. I thought: Okay so you don’t want me, I will enjoy my life. I went out night-clubbing. And then of course you can’t perform.
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