In his official introduction to the press today, Kevin-Prince Boateng (wearing a Stefano Pioli-esque all-black 3-piece suit with a black Fiorentina badge on the jacket) made a splash by selecting the squad number 10. With Daniele Pradè playing a typically low-key interpretation of the hype man (“We’ve chosen carefully someone who can bring us quality and experience.”) by his side, KPB addressed reporters for the first time in an official Viola capacity.
He thanked Fiorentina and Pradè in particular for their faith in him, acknowledging that he “barely played in the past 6 months” and citing the DS’s frequent daily phone calls to check in as a reason he signed. He admitted that it was fun to play for Barcelona but frustrating to be stuck on the bench, highlighting his desire to do more than just collect a paycheck at the age of 32. He also expressed that the project, particularly the younger players, were another motivation for his choosing Florence, along with the food and the culture of the city.
On selecting that most hallowed of squad numbers, Boateng said, “I know the greatest players wore this in Florence, but I took the 10 because I’ve come here to do great things, not just to enjoy myself.” He reinforced this belief when he discussed his role under Vincenzo Montella: “I’ve always enjoyed myself in attack, whether as a trequartista, on the wing, or as a striker. I think it’s good for the mister to have someone who can play many different roles.”
On the subject of his well-documented lifestyle, he added, “I realized what it means to be a professional. I was pretty crazy when I was young, going around to parties. I certainly don’t do that now. Young players should enjoy themselves, but within certain limits,” which checks out for a guy whose Instagram is full of pictures of him with his wife and son.
On the other members of the squad, he naturally expressed his admiration for Federico Chiesa, “You might not realize how strong he is. When you’re training with him, I have to say, he’s rather unstoppable.” He also singled out Dušan Vlahović for praise, comparing him favorably with Zlatan Ibrahimović and warning, “I don’t think he realizes how good he is and I want him to believe in himself, because he can alter matches.”
He signed off with some fairly standard but still encouraging statements about the leadership and maturity he possesses, along with his obviously powerful personality, being useful on a young team. All in all, he acquitted himself quite well.
On the subject of squad numbers, the Viola 10 shirt has quite a history for Boateng to live up to: Egisto Pandolfini, Miguel Montuori, Giancarlo de Sisti, Giancarlo Antognoni, Roberto Baggio, Rui Costa, Adrian Mutu, and Alberto Aquilani are fairly exalted company. On the other hand, the most recent recipients include Marko Pjaca, Valentin Eysseric, Rubén Olivera, and Santiago Silva, and KPB should be a good bit more effective. We’re also glad that he took a reasonable number, rather than the 27s and 72s he’s frequently repped through his career. Really, we can call today a smashing success for him.