Racism drove Kevin-Prince Boateng out of Italy, Schalke’s chief financial officer Peter Peters has told SportBildPlus.
“Because of the racist incidents, Boateng wanted to leave Italy,” Peters said. “He had an arrangement with president Silvio Berlusconi that he could leave if AC Milan qualified for the Champions League group stage.”
When he arrived in Germany in late August, Boateng said only that “sporting reasons” had been behind his decision.
In early January, he walked off the pitch during a friendly match against Pro Patria, whose fans had racially abused him. He was joined by his team-mates, and the game was abandoned.
He has since made a United Nations speech about the problem of racism and said: “Now it’s crazy. It happens every game.”
Boateng was praised for his strong stance against racism. His half-brother Jerome, of Bayern Munich, told Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper he was proud of him and said: “It takes a lot of courage. He showed everyone that enough is enough.
“A lot of players should have done that much earlier, giving a visible sign against daily racism in stadiums just like Kevin and his team-mates did.”
In an interview with ESPN, Kevin-Prince Boateng said: “It’s happened to me before” and looked back at his time on the cinder pitches of Berlin, the city in which he grew up.
He recalled one incident when the father of an opponent racially abused him, saying: “I will never forget the father. He had a big beard and no hair. I even remember his son. I wanted to kick his son so hard. I didn't. I scored a goal, and we won the game. This I remember."