Russian president Vladmir Putin has praised German side Schalke for the summer signing of Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng from AC Milan this summer.
The 26-year-old joined the Bundesliga side in a surprise swoop last month that has boosted the club’s confidence and chances in the league.
Schalke have ties to Putin through their main sponsor, the Russian energy company Gazprom which has sparked interest from the Russian leader.
Schalke chairman Clemens Tonnies recently met Putin to discuss the Winter Olympics, being held in the Russian city of Sochi next year where the Russian leader hailed Boateng’s capture.
“We discussed matters regarding the Olympic Games in Sochi, as well as Schalke,” Schalke chairman Clemens Tonnies explained.
“Vladimir Putin explicitly praised us for the Boateng transfer. That shows that Kevin-Prince has, from day one, become another face of the club, another figurehead.
“He gives his team-mates security – he leads. He shows them where it’s at and how it’s done.”
The Berlin-born Ghana international moved from AC Milan to Schalke for €12 million in late August.
He has made an immediate impact, scoring twice from central midfield in four appearances.