Kevin-Prince Boateng

Kevin-Prince Boateng says Juventus should be applauded if they succeed in bringing another star name to Serie A, after he was officially presented as a Sassuolo player on Friday afternoon.

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly close to agreeing a switch to Juventus, but Sassuolo completed a major transfer coup of their own in signing Boateng from Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Ghana international joked that the Portuguese forward would therefore become the second big move into Serie A this summer — after him.

“You tell me whether it’s a joke or not, but for me, I’m serious [that Ronaldo would be one of two big transfers],” he said at a news conference in Sassuolo. “It would be very, very important for Italian football if he really did come, and Juve should be applauded if they manage [to get him].”

Boateng could give Ronaldo plenty of arguments for moving to Italy as he admits living in Il Bel Paese was his motivation behind returning for a third spell in Serie A after two previous stints at AC Milan.

“I feel at home in Italy, and this was the chance to move to a place near Milan, where my family also is,” he said. “I was able to leave Germany in a really positive way, as a [cup] winner, so it was the right way and the right moment to close the door behind me and open a new one.

“I was told the food is so great here too. Every single person I spoke with, when I said I might perhaps be moving to Modena, told me how great the food is, so much so that I had to say ‘I’m here to play football, not to open a restaurant!'”

Sassuolo’s appointment of Roberto De Zerbi from Benevento was also behind his decision to join the Emilia-Romagna club.

Boateng was looking forward to working for De Zerbi at Las Palmas last year, but the former Palermo coach turned down their approach at the last minute. Just weeks later, Boateng chose to leave the La Liga club and join Frankfurt, but he is now delighted to get to see why the 39-year-old coach is so highly rated.

“I’ve always wanted to work with De Zerbi, and I think he is a genius in his vision of football,” Boateng said. “Everybody speaks very highly of him, which is not normal: usually, 50 people talk highly of me and 50 people talk really badly, so to have 100 percent of people talking so well of him is really something.

“I want to experience it myself and see how it works on the pitch. I think Sassuolo are a serious club who play great football, keeping the ball, and are almost Spanish in style. I believe in the project and really believe that we can do something interesting, and shake things up.

“It’s a young team with some new players and a new coach, so we need a bit of time; it’s hard for me to say right now where we would aim to finish at the end of the season. However, we do want to cause some surprises, we want to play good football, and we want to entertain our fans and also the rest of Serie A.

“I’ve heard that there aren’t too many fans [at the Mapei Stadium], but for me that’s not a big problem: fewer people to get angry with me when I make a mistake!”

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