Welcome to Last Word on Football’s ‘Families in Football’ series. Over the next few weeks, we take a look at siblings, cousins and even parents and children that have played the beautiful game. Some have played cup finals together while others have been on opposing sides. Today, we focus on Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Families in Football: Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng
Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng have enjoyed long careers that span multiple European countries. When combining both careers, over 18 football teams appear on the resume. It’s safe to say that loyalty in football was not what appealed to the German-Ghanaian brothers. Instead, the thrill of travel and discovery is what makes their careers so interesting.
Kevin-Prince is the older of the two, with both players starting their careers in Berlin, Germany. Both players explored different career trajectories that are unique and compelling to any football enthusiast. They both kicked off their career at the capital club Hertha Berlin. However, Jerome joined eight years after his brother as he chose to remain at his original youth team: Tennis Borussia Berlin.
Despite both being born to the same father, they are half-brothers. They both picked their sides when it came to the country they would represent. Jerome became a national team player for Germany whilst Kevin-Prince opted for Ghana.
Jerome Boateng may be considered one of the best centre-backs of the 2010s. He has made over 540 professional appearances since 2005. His career spans multiple clubs around Europe including Hertha Berlin, Hamburger SV, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Lyon.
He first made a name for himself at Hamburger SV, where he was an important part of the team that achieved two consecutive Europa League semi-finals. His impressive performances attracted attention from Manchester City. He joined the blue side of Manchester for over £10 million but only spent one season there. He was mostly played at right-back in the 24 appearances he made for the club. Unfortunately, he missed the start of the season in a freak accident after Germany’s friendly match against Denmark. Jerome tore his tendon during the game but the injury was aggravated on the plane after he collided with a drinks trolley.
Following his one season in England, he returned to Germany to play for Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. He spent the next decade in Munich and enjoyed a variety of trophies. His compelling CV includes nine Bundesliga titles, five DFB-Pokal titles, two Champions Leagues titles, two UEFA Super cup titles and two FIFA club world cup titles. He enjoyed one of the most successful careers in the sport. If the list above isn’t enough to intrigue you, then be reminded that Jerome further won a FIFA World Cup in 2014 with Germany.
His German career ended abruptly following Germany’s shock exit from the 2018 World Cup. The poor performances warranted a group stage exit for Die Mannschaft and Jerome Boateng. Following the tournament, head coach Joachim Löw stated that Jerome would no longer be part of his team plans.
Following his domination of German football, Jerome signed on a free transfer for Lyon in 2021. Time will tell whether he impresses for one of France’s biggest clubs.
Kevin-Prince, the older brother, currently plays for his childhood club Hertha Berlin. He first left the German side in 2007 when he joined Tottenham Hotspur. His chances were limited for Spurs and joined Borussia Dortmund on loan in 2009. In those three seasons, he averaged just over ten appearances a season.
In an attempt to revive his career, he joined Portsmouth who were in financial disarray. Despite their relegation from the Premier League that season, Boateng impressed at the club and even got to the FA Cup final. In that final, he missed a penalty in the 54th minute. Chelsea won the game and Boateng was at the centre of international attention after he injured Germany captain Micheal Ballack.
Following the team’s relegation, Boateng required a change of scenery and joined Genoa in the summer of 2010. He spent the season on loan at AC Milan before immediately transferring to them at the end of the 2010/11 season. He stayed in Milan until August 2013. His Italian journey effectively changed his playstyle from a defensive midfielder to a trequartista, which is a more attacking role.
In the same year, he announced his retirement from international football at the age of 24 due to fatigue reasons.
He became heavily involved in anti-racism and anti-discrimination causes with the United Nations and FIFA in 2013, whilst at AC Milan. This came a few months after AC Milan abandoned a friendly game due to racial abuse from the opposing supporters.
After 74 appearances for Milan, he returned to Germany and played for Schalke. He was consistent for the German side and led the Bundesliga club to a third-place finish in 2014. Boateng appeared in the 2014 World Cup despite his retirement, however, he was kicked out of the squad after allegedly ‘verbally abusing’ the Ghana manager and calling the organisation ‘amateurish’.
His Schalke journey was interrupted as he was suspended in May 2015 following ‘poor behaviour’. He didn’t make an appearance for the team again before his contract was terminated in December 2015.
He re-joined AC Milan in the January window for six months, making 11 appearances and notching one goal before leaving the club for the second time.
Kevin-Prince went on to represent eight different clubs in the following five years, highlighting his interest in change and travel. In those five years, he appeared for Las Palmas, Eintracht Frankfurt, Sassuolo, Barcelona, Fiorentina, Besiktas and Monza before returning to Hertha Berlin.
Kevin-Prince currently holds one Serie A title, one La Liga title, one DFB Pokal title, and one Supercoppa Italiana. He was also part of the 2010/11 Serie A Team Of The Year.
Games Played Together and Against
The brothers played on the same side on six occasions; three times with HBSC 2 in the Regionalliga Nord, twice with the Hertha senior side with both Bundesliga matches ending in defeat and once in a friendly for Germany U21s.
Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng also faced up against each other on six occasions, but these sox fixtures were at a higher level than when playing on the same side. There were four Bundesliga meetings along with two international matches between Germany and Ghana.
Jerome and Kevin-Prince were the first brothers to play against each other at the World Cup in 2010. Jerome represented the winning side as Germany beat Ghana 1-0 in a Group D match. Kevin-Prince was playing on the Ghana team despite appearing in the German youth teams. The brothers faced each other again in the 2014 World Cup in a game that ended 2-2.
Their relationship was damaged before the 2010 World cup when Kevin-Prince injured Germany captain Micheal Ballack in the FA Cup final. Jerome was furious that his team’s captain would miss the World Cup and subsequently blamed his brother and refused to speak to him before the tournament.
As well as being a footballer, Kevin-Prince launched his music career in 2018 naming himself PRIN$$ Boateng. He had always been a music enthusiast and even performed a moonwalk at the San Siro following Milan’s 2011 title win.