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Q: Like your brother, you had a choice of playing for Germany or Ghana, your father’s homeland. He chose Ghana, you Germany. Why?

A: For me, it was Germany from Day 1. It is where I grew up, played for the youth teams. I do feel my African side, but I’ve always wanted to play for Germany. Every player must know for himself, you can’t look in their heads. Some maybe have more feelings for the country where they were born or where they’re more comfortable, like myself. To me, it only made sense to play for Germany.

Jerome Boateng was 11 years old when he discovered what racism in football sounds like. Barely out of primary school, he travelled to a game in the east of his native Berlin, where a watching father decided to pick on the fact that he was black.

‘Another kid’s dad called me… you know (the word).’ What he means is the ‘N’ word and he has a natural reluctance to speak it out loud. ‘I didn’t know how to take it. The whole game he was speaking to me and I started crying because I was small, 11 or 12 years old.

‘My dad came round. He didn’t talk to this guy, he talked to me and said, “Look. Calm down. Play your game. Don’t listen. Just show what you can do with the ball and that’s it”. And other parents came around and told the guy: “What are you doing? Just be quiet and let the kids play. Look how young they are!”.’ [x]

Jerome Boateng of Germany celebrates with his daughter and the World Cup trophy after defeating Argentina 1-0 in extra time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.