Kevin-Prince Boateng has told of his love for crazy, beautiful Pompey as part of a candid interview with the Guardian.
The article, in which the former Ghanaian international also claims Nelson Mandela asked him to marry his daughter, reflects on his 12-year career, including his incident-packed season with the Blues.
Boateng, who now plays for Spanish side Las Palmas, infamously missed a penalty for Pompey in the 2010 FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea – after netting from the spot in the semi-final success over former club Spurs.
‘For almost three years, I hardly played.’ Boateng said of his time with the Londoners before his move to Fratton Park.
‘They said the stadium is small: “I don’t care.” The pitch is bad: “I don’t care.” They have no money: “I don’t care.” The contract is this: “OK, I sign it. Just give me the ball, let me play.”
‘Portsmouth was small but real. It was crazy, beautiful. I loved playing there.’
Boateng, who moved to Fratton Park for £4 million in 2009, played 27 games for Pompey, scoring five goals.
The 29-year old scored an extra-time penalty against Spurs in a 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win for Avram Grant’s side, but failed to convert from the spot in the final, seeing his shot saved by Petr Cech.
Pompey, who had already been relegated form the Premier League that season, went on to lose the final 1-0.
A Didier Drogba free-kick was enough to settle the match, which turned out to be Boateng’s last game for the Blues.
‘I played well at Portsmouth so knew I couldn’t stay.’ explained Boateng, who signed for Genoa in August 2010, only to be immediately loaned out to AC Milan.
The midfielder later went on to tell the newspaper that Nelson Mandela had asked him to marry his daughter, prior to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
‘There were three people I always wanted to meet: Michael Jackson, Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela,’ said Boateng.
‘I only met one, and it’s hard to describe. It’s just joy.
‘Mandela was in prison for 27 years just because he stood up for his rights and he sits there and has no anger inside.
‘He should be angry with the whole world, but he wasn’t.
‘He’s calm, just there in his little seat saying hello to everybody.
‘He makes you feel calm. He was shining.
‘It’s like a movie. It’s like an angel sitting there.
‘He shook my hand, pulled me towards him and said: “My daughter wants to marry you.”
‘I said: “Sorry I already have a girlfriend.”
‘He said: “No, no but I have others, more beautiful.”
‘Everyone was laughing.
‘The pity is we couldn’t take pictures because the flash hurt his eyes so I only have one.’
Boateng has made 16 appearences for Las Palmas this season, scoring six goals.