Kevin Prince-Boateng’s story of buying cars shows young footballers are way overpaid

Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Kevin-Prince Boateng is one of those footballers who is equally known for his actions on the pitch as off it.

The Germany-born Ghana international was once considered among the most complete midfielders in the world thanks to his combination of strength, speed, skill and eye for goal.

But despite his promising potential, Boateng has spent much of his career drifting between cubs in Germany, England, Italy and Spain.

The 32-year-old has worn the shirt of no less than 12 different sides, with Tottenham, Portsmouth, AC Milan and Schalke being the most notable up until last season.

In January 2019, Barcelona signed him on a six-month loan from Sassuolo in what was arguably their strangest piece of business in living memory.

Now at Fiorentina, Boateng scored on his debut in the opening match of the 2019-20 Serie A campaign - a 3-4 loss to Napoli at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Aside from his preferred position, the midfielder-cum-striker has changed (and learned) a lot since graduating from the Hertha Berlin youth academy 15 years ago.

Boateng says his lack of professionalism and penchant for spending his new-found money early on in his career is now costing him dearly.

ACF Fiorentina v SSC Napoli - Serie A

“I’ll go back and say: I didn’t treat football as a job,” he told La Repubblica, per the Evening Standard.

“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.”

It’s a stark message to the prospective wonderkids enjoying the status Boateng did during the late 2000s.

While top footballers live an exceedingly controlled lifestyle, it’s one that’s filled with temptation from the moment they sign their first professional contract.

Boateng deserves praise for opening up about the perils of having so much at such a young age, and hopefully, his career serves as a cautionary example to the stars of the future.

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