If you think Eintracht Frankfurt's Kevin-Prince Boateng is merely a piece of hired midfield muscle without a heart, you could not be further from the truth.

bundesliga.com dispels the myths on one of the most under-appreciated talents of his generation, a troubled genius turned role model.

1) A reformed character

Ok, hands up those of you who always saw Boateng as a cocksure hot head with a touch of the Roy Keane about him? A good number of years ago — probably around the time he ended Michael Ballack's FIFA 2010 World Cup journey before it had even begun with a bloodthirsty challenge in the English FA Cup final — you might have been right, but not any more.

Long gone is the nomadic wild child who, by his own admission, used to paint the town red at least six nights a week whilst in London with Tottenham Hotspur. In his place, stands a dedicated husband and father, an on-field leader and all-round good egg, shaped by his hand-to-mouth existence growing up in the rough-and-tumble of Berlin's Wedding district and emboldened by his experiences on the hallowed turf.

Watch: Kevin-Prince Boateng discusses his storied career with Patrick Owomoyela

2) UN Ambassador

Boateng has "done a lot of growing up" since his international playboy years, but it wasn't until January 2013 that the world began to see the much-maligned Ghana international in a different light. Subjected to a torrent of racist abuse during a mid-season friendly between then employers AC Milan and lower-league Pro Patria, the son of a Ghanaian father and German mother took a ground-breaking stance: he walked off the pitch, and the match was abandoned.

A few months later, Boateng spoke at the UN about his exemplary actions, before being named FIFA's first global anti-discrimination ambassador.

"Football stadiums, like other places, are full of young people," said the UN's anti-racism ambassador. "If we don't fight the stagnation, many of those who are healthy today, could become infected with one of the most dangerous diseases of our time. Racism is real, it exists here and now."

Boateng continues to lead the fight against racism in football and the racist minority to this very day.

3) Inspired by Milan greats

In many ways, Boateng's three-year stint in Italy was the career turning point he had been looking for. The former Hertha Berlin, Borussia Dortmund, Spurs and Portsmouth man had fallen out of love with the game, when a summer 2010 transfer to Genoa and immediate loan move to Milan took him from the brink of calling it quits to the very top of the game.

Boateng won the Serie A title in his debut season at the San Siro, playing alongside and learning from some of the best players in the world: Paulo Maldini, Ronaldinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to name but a few.

Fans embraced his all-action, heart-on-the-sleeve performances, so much so that at one point he was even outdoing club legend Maldini in the pre-match mobbing stakes.

"Paulo Maldini is a legend not just at Milan but in football," Boateng recalled. "I was in my prime time there, the mohawk Prince Boateng. We ran out into the stadium together, and this mass of people descended on me looking for a picture or an autograph. Maybe a couple went over to Paulo Maldini. Then it struck me: Wow! That's how quickly things can change in football."

"Hey, Zlatan, your Mom's here!" Joking aside, Boateng (l.) describes legendary striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (r.) as "the most professional player I've ever played with." © imago

4) Shamone!

Had Boateng not taken the "fight for it" advice of wife Melissa Satta and thrown in the towel, he may well have wound up starring in Thriller! The Musical. He still might, if his Serie A title celebrations are anything to go by.

Honouring a promise he'd made to perform Michael Jackson's moonwalk on the pitch if Milan won the league, Boateng stepped out in full King of Pop attire in front of a packed San Siro crowd to deliver a step-perfect dance routine to the tune of smash hit record Billie Jean.

At first only a select few knew who was hiding behind the glistening jacket and fedora hat. But in a thrilling finale, Boateng revealed his face to spark jubilant celebrations among team-mates and fans alike. Imagine what he could do with a cherry picker and smoke machine… 

And the prize for the world's best Michael Jackson impersonator goes to... Kevin-Prince Boateng! © imago

5) A Boateng family tree

Football, dancing, you name it: performing is in the Boateng family DNA.

Kevin's father is "a talented dancer"; his half-sister "a great singer and dancer"; his eldest brother George "raps"; and then there's Jerome.

A FIFA 2014 World Cup winner with Germany and six-time Bundesliga champion with Bayern Munich, Prince's half-brother boasts a footballing CV most can only dream of - but can he moonwalk?

"No," says Kevin with schoolboy repartee. "Jerome plays football, but I can do everything."

Watch: Boateng brothers in the Bundesliga

Chris Mayer-Lodge

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