After his January move to Barcelona, Kevin-Prince Boateng has admitted that he has matured since the early stages of his career.
The 31-year-old left Sassuolo to join Barcelona on a loan deal until the end of the season, surprising many fans and pundits alike. Once regarded as an incredibly hot prospect, Boateng has turned out for the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan in the past, but often found himself the subject of criticism as a result of his behaviour in the early stages of his career.
In an interview with La Vanguardia, Boateng opened up on his behaviour as a teenager, admitting that he struggled to handle the fame and wealth that came with being a professional footballer.
He said: "When I was young I was crazy. At 18, in my neighbourhood, I was the boss because I had money. Then I had a kid and you see that if you don't mature you can't play for teams like Milan or Barça. They don't choose you.
"You can play well but if your head doesn't work you can play for these teams. I had to change my attitude and character."
After moving to Tottenham as a 20-year-old, Boateng found himself struggling for consistent minutes in the team and was criticised for his behaviour and fitness. Boateng added: "In Tottenham I did not play and I was always with the fans in the stands. In London I was 20-years-old. And you go partying, you're with friends and you eat badly.
"Now I have my cook and I am aware that eating well and being healthy lengthens the race. When you're young you think that every month the money is going to be there. If you do not play you do not care because you have money and friends tell you that you are a phenomenon."
Finally, when asked about his aspirations with Barcelona, Boateng stated: "I am here to help. When the manager decided that I am playing, I will give my all. I am training well and bonding with the team because I want to stay beyond these six months."
Signed to provide cover for Luis Suarez following the sale of Munir El Haddadi to Sevilla, Boateng made his debut for his new club in the 2-0 defeat to the Andalusian side in January.