Kevin-Prince Boateng has revealed that he was close to sealing a deal with Orlando City, but the move fell apart after the Ghanian star was given a short window to make a decision.
Boateng is currently with Turkish side Besiktas on loan after departing Serie A club Fiorentina in January.
Prior to that, he spent the tail end of the 2018-19 campaign at Barcelona, where he made four appearances for the La Liga powerhouse as part of a brief loan spell away from Sassuolo.
The 33-year-old Ghanaian has played for 12 clubs throughout his career, which has included stints with AC Milan, Schalke, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund.
And it also nearly included a stop in MLS with Orlando City during the club’s early days in the top-flight, although Boateng didn’t write off a future move to North America if the opportunity would present itself again.
“I don’t know. I was close to signing [with] Orlando, like five years ago. I was really close,” Boateng told SiriusXM FC.
“They sent me the offer, whatever, I was good with the coach. But they gave me like ten hours to decide and I said, ‘OK, I have to decide as a father, as a husband and as a player’. Ten hours wasn’t enough, so I had to turn down the offer.
“Kaka even called me when he played there, he said, ‘Listen, come here. It’s a great city. Great place. The football is getting much better.’ I was really close to coming to the States, to MLS.
“And I always said to everybody who asked me, I love MLS and who knows, I would love to play there because even to say I played in MLS as well because it’s getting bigger. I watch a lot of games. It’s getting more intense, it’s getting bigger. The people are going more to the stadium. It’s very, very interesting. Very interesting.
“And there’s a big market. There’s big market. I have an idea with MLS. I don’t want to just go there like a lot of players did – they go there and play there two years. I want to go there and change something. Like I spoke to Puma, my sponsor, and I said, ‘Listen, if I ever have the chance to go to MLS, be ready, because we’re going to do something’.
“We’re going to build football fields on the streets for free to play. Everywhere, there are basketball places and baseball fields and that’s why they keep it up there because it is free and you can go play. There are no football cages. We need to open some of those in the biggest cities and get people to love this game.”
Orlando City are in their sixth season in MLS, although the Lions have yet to qualify for the playoffs in their brief history in the league.
The 2020 campaign is the first under new coach Oscar Pareja, formerly of FC Dallas and Club Tijuana, with the Lions earning a draw with Real Salt Lake before falling to the Colorado Rapids in their two matches prior to the coronavirus outbreak.