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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 February 2019

Kevin-Prince Boateng happy to play bit-part role after sealing dream move to Barcelona

Ghanaian unveiled at Camp Nou after surprise loan move from Serie A side Sassuolo

Kevin-Prince Boateng acknowledged he knows he will struggle to start matches at Barcelona, but he is determined to win everything with the Spanish champions.

The 31-year-old Ghanaian forward sealed a surprising loan move from Serie A side Sassuolo to the Spanish champions on Monday. Barcelona have paid an initial €1 million fee for the former Schalke, Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan player's services with the option to make the move permanent for €8 million (Dh33m) in the summer.

Boateng, who has five goals in 13 appearances for mid-table Sassuolo this campaign, says he can add know-how as Barcelona set their sights on another treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Uefa Champions League.

"I haven't spoken to the coach [Ernesto Valverde] but I know I have not come here to be a starter because there are incredible players in this team," Boateng told reporters at his presentation at Camp Nou on Tuesday.

"I am here because of my experience and to help out. When I heard the news I called my agent and thought it was a dream.

"It's an incredible sensation. Yesterday morning I was sad because we had a good group [at Sassuolo] but I explained to them that coming here was an opportunity I couldn't refuse."

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Boateng is Barca's second January signing after defender Jeison Murillo also joined on loan from Valencia.

His prior knowledge of the Spanish top flight is thought to be a factor in Barca's surprise move after Boateng impressed with Las Palmas in 2016/17 before moving to Eintracht Frankfurt for personal reasons.

The much-travelled Ghanaian has reinvented himself from a midfielder to a false nine in recent seasons, giving Barca manager Ernsto Valverde a back-up option to first-choice striker Luis Suarez after understudy Munir El Haddadi joined Sevilla this month.

"At my age the false nine position is perfect for me," added Boateng. "The coach might think having a player like me is a positive because I can play in different roles, but I feel very good as a forward.

"I'm here to play well and to try to stay for more years here. That's my goal."

After breaking through at Hertha Berlin he moved to Premier League side Tottenham, later featuring for Borussia Dortmund and Schalke among other sides.

Asked about his previous praise of Juventus and former Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo, Boateng joked that new teammate Lionel Messi is the best player ever.

"I'm a Barcelona player and the best player in the world is Messi, in every world," Boateng said.

"He's shown it with all he's won over the years."

Alongside Boateng was Barcelona's sporting director Eric Abidal, who said players leaving Camp Nou are also possible this month, with Malcom and Denis Suarez among those linked with moves away.

"We are happy with the squad but there is always a chance," Abidal said. "Players who are not playing very much can stay or leave, all scenarios will be evaluated."

Updated: January 22, 2019 06:00 PM

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