Kevin-Prince Boateng has expressed regret about the lack of professionalism he showed earlier in his career. “I bought three cars in one day.”
Boateng was arguably known more for his off-field antics than those on it as he struggled to settle down at the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Borussia Dortmund, Portsmouth and Milan.
However, the 32-year-old has since reinvented himself as a striker, scoring goals for Las Palmas, Eintracht Frankfurt, Sassuolo and now Fiorentina.
“I’ll go back and say: I didn’t treat football as a job,” he told La Repubblica.
“I was an idiot. I had talent, but I trained the bare minimum, an hour on the field. I was the last to arrive and the first to leave. I’d be out with friends.
“I had money, I lived like a king. I’d never been to the gym. That changes your later career.
“I bought three cars in one day when I was at Tottenham: a Lamborghini, a Hummer and a Cadillac.
“To the youngsters, I tell them: ‘You cannot buy happiness.’ I didn’t play, I had family problems, I was out of the squad.
“I was looking for happiness in material things: a car makes you happy for a week. I bought three to be happy for three weeks.”
The former Ghana international then had some choice words for in-demand teammate Federico Chiesa.
“He accepted he was staying here. He’s young and I understand him: there was so much talk about great teams and you pick up on it, but he must do very well here.
“He’s very strong and he wants to play at the Euros. I see him calm. If he isn’t, I’ll put him in place.”
Boateng was racially abused during a Milan friendly in January 2013, and the problem continues to stain Italian football.
“I also think of the three-year-old boy kicked in Cosenza for the colour of his skin. That was the incident that hurt me the most.
“The chants at the stadium want to remind us of when our forefathers were slaves. But those who make those chants, before being racist, are ignorant.
“Ignorance must be abolished. At school, we must introduce an hour of integration: we must tell our children that we’re all the same. They’re our future.”