Kevin-Prince Boateng may
have rubbed salt into Ghanaian wounds by scoring one of the best
goals of the Champions League season in AC Milan's 3-2 home
defeat by Barcelona.
The heavily-tattooed midfielder quit the Black Stars this
month at the age of 24, the latest controversy involving the
player widely-remembered for the incident which forced Germany's
Michael Ballack out of the 2010 World Cup.
German-born Boateng, raised in one of Berlin's toughest
neighbourhoods, has enjoyed some spectacular moments in his
second season with the Italian champions.
He scored in the Super Cup win over Inter Milan in August and
then struck a magnificent long-range goal in the Champions
League win over BATE Borisov.
That was followed by a 14-minute hat-trick immediately after
he came on as a half-time substitute in a Serie A match at Lecce.
Trailing 3-0, Milan bounced back to win 4-3.
On Wednesday, the player who models himself on Pele and
Rivaldo produced a goal either Brazilian would have been proud
of against Lionel Messi's Barca.
Collecting a pass from Zlatan Ibrahimovic at an awkward
height, the former Tottenham Hotspur, Borussia Dortmund and
Portsmouth player flicked the ball past a defender's legs and
fired a low shot between Victor Valdes and the near post.
For Ghana it was an untimely reminder of what they will be
missing at the African Nations Cup in January.
The Ghana FA said Boateng had told the association that
playing for club and country was too much.
"According to Kevin the physical demands of playing for club
and country at high levels are taking a toll on his health," it
"The player also explained that in order to remain healthy
and stave off injuries he has consulted his doctors and family
over the matter and has decided to take the decision to excuse
himself from national duties."
The decision caused an angry reaction in the West African
nation and led to a discussion over the use of foreign-based
players, especially those raised in other countries but
qualified to play through their parents.
Some commentators said Ghana had become over-dependant on
foreign-based players who often chose to play for the country
when they were unable to win a place in other national teams.
Others said Boateng won his transfer to Milan on the back of
his excellent performances for Ghana at the World Cup when the
Black Stars reached the quarter-finals.
"All one has to do these days is to be a Ghanaian of foreign
descent, request to switch nationality and you are guaranteed an
automatic first team place in the Black Stars," said one
"He played a few games, performed admirably and now his
career is steadily rising he realises it is time to pack up his
bags and bid goodbye to Ghana.
"I hope he wins the African Player of the Year award for no
other reason than to see the reactions of Ghanaian football
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