Kevin-Prince Boateng is a German-born Ghanaian International footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Portsmouth in the English Premier League.
A player with dual German-Ghanaian nationality, Boateng is a central midfielder. He has been described as having "skill and pace complemented by advanced tactical awareness and a powerful physique".He started his career with the youth club Reinickendorfer Füchse and signed for Hertha BSC.
Boateng was with Hertha from 1 July 1994 when he was just seven years old to 31 July 2007. After emerging from the youth team set-up, he played for the reserves for two seasons. He was twice sent off, but he won a call-up to the first team squad in the 2005–06 season. He made his debut against Eintracht Frankfurt, in round 2 of the 2005–06 Bundesliga season, being brought on at the start of the second half. He impressed during that game, and was on the fringe of the first team from then on, despite barely being 18 years old. Boateng continued his rise, and started his first Bundesliga game in the 2–2 draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach in round 14 of the Bundesliga season.
Boateng identifies Pelé and Rivaldo as his role models, occasionally imitating the Brazilian duo with crowd-pleasing moments. His love of playing to the gallery draws applause, but has also attracted a fair share of criticism too. The Germany Under 19 coach, Uli Stielike, said about him: "At senior level, Kevin will need to wean himself off the world of fantasy football". He has since cut down on those antics.
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. Sport director Matthias Sammer and DFB coach Horst Hrubesch honored the talented player with the gold prize winner award and the 20,000 Euro 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 for Tottenham Hotspur in July 2007, for a reported fee of £5.4million. He had his first start in the Premier League on 3 November against Middlesbrough, after which a series of further first team performances followed. 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 team and into the reserves. Boateng made his appearance under new manager Harry Redknapp in Spurs' 4–2 home win against Liverpool in the fourth round of the League Cup and his first league appearance of the 2008–09 season in Tottenham's 1–0 home defeat to Everton in November 2008.
Boateng was loaned out during the January transfer window of 2009 to Borussia Dortmund for the remainder of the season. Boateng returned to Tottenham at the end of the 2008–09 season. His last game for Spurs came as a substitue in the clubs 5–1 Football League Cup win over Doncaster Rovers in August 2009.
Boateng joined Portsmouth for the 2009–10 season, signing a three-year deal with Pompey in August 2009 for a fee believed to be in the region of £4 million. He scored his first Portsmouth goal in a 3–2 loss against Bolton Wanderers. He continued his good form over the next few games, playing at the peak of Paul Hart's midfield diamond and winning Portsmouth's Player of the Month competition in September.
The midfielder has played several times for the German Under-16, Under-19 and Under-21 national teams, hitting the headlines on 20 July 2005 after netting a 47th minute goal from inside the center circle over 45 yards in a 2005 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship game against Greece which Germany won 3–0. This impressive strike was voted Goal of the Month by viewers of a renowned German TV sports show.
Boateng was offered the chance to play for Ghana in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but declined. The Hertha BSC manager, Dieter Hoeneß praised Boateng for turning down Ghana and opting to play for Germany. On 27 March 2007 it was reported in the German media that Boateng had told German coach Joachim Löw that he would play for Ghana.
On 9 September 2007 Berliner Morgenpost reported that German National U21 Coach Dieter Eilts does not select Boateng anymore because of negative incidents that happened in the team's Camp during the June 2007 Toulon tournament in France.
On 24 June 2009 he announced, due to the lack of future chances to earn a call up for his home country, that he will play for the Black Stars in the future and that he hopes to be part of the Ghana National team squad at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He was yet to win any caps for the Black Stars, as the status of his nationality switch was on hold pending FIFA's approval. On 7 May 2010, Ghana's head coach Milovan Rajevac named Boateng in his 30 man squad in preparation for the world cup in 2010. On 12 May 2010, FIFA finally approved Boateng's nationality switch application, clearing the way for him to play for Ghana at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Boateng has a German mother and a Ghanaian father. His paternal uncle is a former Ghana international and his maternal grandfather is a cousin of legendary German star Helmut Rahn, scorer of the winning goal in the 1954 FIFA World Cup. He has two brothers, George (not the current Hull City midfielder George Boateng) and Jérôme. Both are football players, with the youngest of the three brothers, Jérôme, also having previously been at Hertha and now playing with Hamburger SV and the German national team. Boateng calls himself "The Ghetto Kid" because he was brought up in the poor Wedding district of Berlin. In official documents his name is given as Kevin Boateng, but he himself prefers the name Kevin-Prince in honour of his father, Prince Boateng. He married his long term girlfriend, Jennifer, two days after signing for Spurs.
Boateng has thirteen tattoos. About a tattoo on his biceps he has said, "Here you see Africa and Ghana from my father", adding, "I have the name of my wife and my home town, Berlin. I have two jokers, one is smiling and the other crying. It means laugh now, cry later." Kevin's parents do not approve of the tattoos and say they would rather he bought bicycles or tennis lessons.