AC Milan's Kevin-Prince Boateng weighs up future in Italy after racism walk-off
AC Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng is weighing up his future in Italy after being subjected to racist chants in midweek.
The 25-year-old Ghana international walked off the pitch, along with his team-mates, in protest at abuse from fans during a friendly on Thursday against Italian lower division club Pro Patria.
Boateng has been publicly backed by several high-profile players, as well as his club, with Milan president Silvio Berlusconi insisting his players would always walk off the pitch if they suffered more racism.
“I don’t care what game it is – a friendly, Serie A or Champions League match, I’d walk off the pitch again and I think everyone would support me,” said Boateng who demanded more action from FIFA and UEFA to do more to tackle the problem.
When asked whether the incident might force his departure from Serie A, the former Tottenham and Portsmouth star told Germany’s Bild newspaper: “It’s not something which you can just shake off.
“I will sleep on it for the next three nights and then sit down with my agent Roger Wittmann next week.
“We will have to see if it’s really worth carrying on playing in Italy.”
The Italian FA announced that they would conduct an immediate investigation while Boateng, who is contracted at San Siro until 2014, has received widespread support from around the football world.
The midfielder said he was “proud” that his team-mates had joined him in boycotting the match. Boateng revealed also that the chants started before the game commenced, but after 26 minutes, he had had enough.
“It’s easy to just turn a blind eye; taking action is more difficult,” he added. “I would have done the very same thing had it been a Champions League match against Real Madrid – and I will always do it.
“I was angry, sad, shocked. For things like this still to happen in 2013 is a disgrace, not just for Italy, but for football in the whole world.
“I wanted to send out a signal to the whole world that things cannot go on like this. We need to open our eyes. Enough is enough. Racism has no place in football.
“I could hear the first monkey calls after five minutes when I was on the ball. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but then it happened over and over again. I went to the referee and told him that if I hear it again, then I’d quit.
“He tried to calm me down. When it started again in the 26th minute with the monkey calls, then I thought ‘that’s it, I’m not carrying on’.”