Former AC Milan and Barcelona midfielder, Kevin-Prince Boateng has confirmed that he will retire at the end of the 2022/23 season.
Now 36, Boateng first became a professional at hometown club Hertha. He enjoyed two top-flight campaigns with the team before embarking on a nomadic career that took in Tottenham Hotspur, Borussia Dortmund, Portsmouth, AC Milan, Schalke, Barcelona, Eintracht Frankfurt and Fiorentina, among others.
Boateng won one Serie A title and the Supercoppa Italiana with AC Milan during the 2010/11 campaign.
He lifted the DFB Pokal with Eintracht Frankfurt before winning the Spanish La Liga with Barcelona in 2018.
The returned to Hertha at the start of last season, making 18 Bundesliga appearances – 10 as a substitute – as the club narrowly avoided relegation via the play-offs.
Indeed, that brush with the drop was ultimately what convinced the attacking midfielder to lace up his boots for another year.
“I just still want to play for a while – I’m still hungry and I think it shows,” Boateng told the official Hertha website before the start of the campaign. “The past year was so turbulent – I couldn’t retire after that. But now I can say with certainty that this is my last season.
“That’s why I want to enjoy every day, even training, and give it my all – for the club and for myself. I’d like to fulfill the same role that I’ve had here: to help out, be a father figure for the players and perform out on the pitch like I did in the relegation play-off second leg against Hamburg.
“The team comes first at all times and we don’t want to be in that situation again. I’d like to have a bit more peace and quiet. We have to focus on the essentials. On top of that, it’s my dream to score at the Olympiastadion again.”
Nobody would begrudge the 15-time Ghana international that, least of all new head coach Sandro Schwarz, who played an important role in Boateng’s decision to carry on for one more year: “He came up to Berlin specifically to see me…We chatted for two and a half hours but after just 10 minutes it was clear that we wanted to work together. He’s a breath of fresh air, exudes passion and emotion.
“My favourite position is as a No.10, but we didn’t talk about that. The coach decides where I play – even at right-back if needed, although I’d only last about 20 minutes!”
As for his plans at the end of the season, Boateng says nothing has been decided – although he won’t be going into coaching for the time being.
“My agent says I’d be a perfect coach, but I don’t see myself doing that yet,” he said. “I don’t have any patience, and never have. I still need to develop in that regard. I’m just trying to focus on this season. I’ll have enough time afterwards to think things over.”