By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Compared to the big international transfers, the unusual story of Kevin Prince Boateng may only be a footnote few will take notice of. For the 31-year-old though, it is a dream come true in the autumn of his career.
His move to FC Barcelona is regarded as the biggest surprise in the 2018/2019 winter transfer window. "The Prince is joining Messi," a media report headlined.
The half-winning brother of Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng didn't have big expectations leaving Eintracht Frankfurt last summer after winning the German Cup 3-1 against Bayern Munich. Due to private reasons, the midfielder joined US Sassuolo Calcio, a small club located south of Milan, where his family lives. Boateng duly took over the job as a striker.
Things were going reasonably well as he scored five goals in 15 games. Then a phone call turned his world upside down.
Ramon Planes remembered the man played as a center-forward for Las Palmas in the Spanish La Liga between 2016 and 2017. Now he needed a quick solution to a problem. Planes took over the job as Barcelona's sports director only last summer after working for several Spanish sides in the past years. He is said to have close ties to Sassuolo officials.
He was looking for a backup for Barca striker Luis Suarez or midfielder Rafinha, the brother of Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago. In retrospect, it might have been a mistake to allow several strikers such as Paco Alcacer (Borussia Dortmund) to leave.
For Boateng, Barcelona's shortage of adequate reserves comes near a stroke of luck. The Berlin-born professional joins the Catalans on loan for two million euro. His contract includes an eight million euro buying option.
It could well be that Boateng's adventure is over in six months, but he preferred to speak about the once in a lifetime opportunity to play alongside Messi, Ousmane Dembele and Coutinho.
"Barca I'm coming. I'm sad to leave Sassuolo, but it is a great chance," he commented on a social media channel, adding an apology as he once praised Barcelona rival Real Madrid as the club he fancies most.
"Don't ask me about Real," he told reporters at Milan airport on his way to the medical check in Barcelona. "It is just the past, I only focus on Barcelona, and I hope to score at Bernabeu for them."
Barcelona, the current La Liga table toppers have officially confirmed the deal. He will be presented on a press conference by the 2015 treble winners.
Barcelona's squad will be completed by a footballer who is said to have a lion's heart and an unbreakable fighting spirit, but has never been an easy-to-handle character.
Instead of traveling to Frankfurt, where the former Ghanaian international was due to meet his former teammates to attend the premiere of a movie covering Frankfurt's surprising cup triumph over Bayern, Boateng traveled to eastern Spain leaving the football world behind in astonishment.
"Boateng to Barcelona? They must be joking," a German fan wrote on a social media channel. But it seems Barcelona is deadly serious about their newest arrival and now it is up to Boateng to live a dream.