Derek Owusu Boateng (born 2 May 1983) is a Ghanian footballer, currently playing for Spanish first division side Getafe CF.
Originally a striker or winger, Boateng has moved further down the pitch and is currently considered a defensive midfielder in his club, due to the position slightly behind the other midfielders he tends to have during the game.
While he is not a traditional holding midfielder, his ability to hold the ball and make the opening passes makes him suitable for that position.
Boateng was born and grew up in Accra, Ghana, and joined the youth academy of local side Liberty Professionals at the age of 10 in 1993. Among his team mates were Michael Essien. At the age of 16 he signed for Kalamata F.C. in Greece. Kalamata stopped him from appearing in the Under-17 World Cup in 1999 in New Zealand.
In 2001, he signed for Panathinaikos, one of the leading Greek Super League clubs. He used to play as an attacker or an attacking midfielder, due to his speed and dribbling abilities.
As assistant manager for Manchester United, Steve McClaren had seen Boateng play against Manchester United in the Champions League, and when McClaren became the manager of Middlesbrough in 2002, he tried to sign him. Panathinaikos accepted, but as he was not playing regularly for the Ghana national football team, he was unable to receive a work permit.
In 2002, Boateng was unable to keep his place in the Panathinaikos squad and was sent on loan to OFI Crete, another Greek Super League team.
His Swedish agent, Patrik Mörk, suggested that he could join AIK, and after months of negotiations he signed for AIK in August 2003.
His first season in AIK was a disappointment, he was injured in his first game, which would lead to Boateng never to fully recover that season.
The 2004 season saw AIK being relegated from Allsvenskan for only the third time in the history of the club.
Boateng, the rest of the squad and organisation received massive criticism from both media and AIK fans, requiring police escort from the arena several times when AIK had performed poorly. After the October loss against Örgryte, relegation was unavoidable, and Boateng fell to the ground crying.
The 2005 season was his major breakthrough at his current side. Before the start of that campaign he was deemed an unaffordable expense and used his pre-season training trotting around Europe in search of a new club.
First, he was rejected by Plymouth Argyle manager Bobby Williamson, and this was soon followed by the same decision taken at newly-promoted Swedish club Assyriska Föreningen. He failed finding himself a new club and remained at AIK.
He was considered unfit by manager Rikard Norling and only got to play regular season matches after committing to an extensive physical training program. After this he got more and more match time and became a regular in the first-team line-up during the second half of the season.
Interestingly the team never lost with Boateng on the pitch, either as a substitute or in the starting line-up. AIK gained promotion after winning the Superettan in style, distancing runners-up Östers IF by nine points.
He also extended his contract with AIK for one more year until the end of 2007.
When he eventually left the Swedish outfit AIK for Beitar Jerusalem he stated in many interviews that he loves Sweden and AIK , and that he one day will come back to Allsvenskan and AIK..
In July 2006, he signed with Beitar Jerusalem until June 2009. Boateng immediately became an integral player in Beitar Jerusalem's starting lineup, and while playing as the team's central midfielder, was one of the most efficient players in the Israeli Premier League, helping Beitar Jerusalem to win the league for the 5th time in their history, and for the first time for 10 years, contributing 4 goals in the campaign.
The following season started on the left foot for Boateng, as he got sent off at Beitar Jerusalem's first official game of the season, in leg 1 of the 2nd qualifying round for the UEFA Champions League, away to F.C. Copenhagen. his absence from the 2nd leg was one of the main causes of Beitar Jerusalem's early elimination.
As the season continued, Boateng returned to his good form and was played again a very important role in a great season, ending with another championship for Beitar Jerusalem.
At the Israel State Cup final, Boateng was the only Beitar Jerusalem player to miss a penalty in a thrilling penalty shootout against fierce rivals Hapoel Tel-Aviv, but eventually Beitar Jerusalem secured the title with a 5-4 win at the shootout, and secured an historical double. Boateng contributed 5 league goals and 1 assist in this great season.
The 2008/2009 season started with yet another early elimination at the 2nd qualification round for the UEFA Champions League, this time with a humiliating 5-0 away defeat to Wisla Krakow, and 6-2 in aggregate. this defeat led Beitar Jerusalem to a big crisis, which included a financial uncertainty, who was the cause for the sale of Boateng to 1.
FC Köln at the January transfer window. Boateng left Beitar as one of the greatest foreign players in the team's history, and as the highest paid player in the history of the Israeli Premier League.
However, on January 21, 2009, Boateng signed a contract with 1. FC Köln, keeping him until 30 June 2013.
After just a half year on July 31, 2009, Getafe CF signed the Ghanaian midfielder from Köln for one million euros. Boateng was introduced to the Spanish press on August 6 before he took to the field to meet fans of the club. In 4th May the top clubs Sevilla FC and Valencia CF were reported to be interested in Boateng.
While playing for Panathinaikos, Boateng that same year played for the Ghana national football team at the FIFA World Youth Championship in Argentina, where he took his country to the final.
He was named one of the rising stars of the tournament. Boateng continued to perform well in the spring season of 2006, and after participating in a friendly with Ghana against French club Nice, he was selected for the Ghana squad at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
He made his first FIFA World Cup appearance on 17 June 2006, when he replaced Otto Addo at half-time in the 2-0 win against Czech Republic.