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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 March 2007, 12:30 GMT
Boateng dismisses retirement talk
By Andrew McKenzie

George Boateng
Boateng joined Boro in the summer of 2002
Middlesbrough captain George Boateng has laughed off talk of him hanging up his boots at the end of the season.

Boateng was quoted as saying he would retire if Boro, who face Manchester United in the FA Cup sixth round this weekend, won the trophy at Wembley.

"I still feel young. I have a contract for two more seasons so there is plenty of time," the 31-year-old Dutch midfielder told BBC Sport.

"I am enjoying it here and retirement is the last thing on my mind."

606: DEBATE

The former Coventry and Aston Villa midfielder hit the headlines recently when he was quoted as saying: "If we win the Cup I would probably hang up my boots because I'd have fulfilled any dream I had as a boy."

But he explained: "I was misquoted. What I meant was that if I win the FA Cup this year then in the years to come I can retire content because I have fulfilled every dream I had as a young player.

"But the quote came out that I would retire if I win the FA Cup."

Boateng was part of the Villa side that lost the last ever FA Cup final at Wembley before the ground was torn down.

He is the only player from that game in 2000 who still has a chance of making the first Cup final in the new stadium, which is expected to be ready in time.

"I played in the last Wembley final and to play in the first one and win it would be as big for me as winning the Champions League with another team," he said.

I had the opportunity to go somewhere else last year but I choose to stay because I feel this is where my home is

George Boateng

"With the situation the club is in this is the biggest prize - along with the Uefa Cup - we can achieve.

"We are realistic here, we know winning the league is virtually impossible. To qualify for the Champions League is a lot of work and we are not that far yet. To win the FA Cup would be awesome.

"It would mean I would have played three cup finals in five seasons here. There are some players at bigger clubs than Middlesbrough that never even reach the final."

Boateng had the opportunity to leave the club last summer but instead signed a new three-year deal with the Teessiders.

He was also made skipper after Gareth Southgate took over from the departing Steve McClaren as manager.

And after a few struggles the club is now enjoying their best run under the new boss.

"We have had a very good 2007 so far," added Boateng. "We had a very difficult time at the end of 2006 but we have lost just one game and that was Chelsea away. So life is good.

"My heart is at home, I had the opportunity to go somewhere else last year but I choose to stay because I feel this is where my home is.

"When you are at home you don't think about going away.

"For now I am enjoying it. I love being here, if people appreciate what I do then there are no problems."



SEE ALSO
Boateng ready to see off Man Utd
08 Mar 07 |  Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough v Man Utd
08 Mar 07 |  FA Cup
Southgate Cup fever plea for fans
06 Mar 07 |  Middlesbrough


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