Kevin-Prince Boateng has hit back at accusations that he intentionally injured Michael Ballack, saying the Germany captain was the chief offender for an earlier slap.
A dangerous tackle in the FA Cup final by Boateng saw Ballack's dreams of lifting the World Cup as Germany captain shattered, something for which the Ghana international later apologised. But Boateng believes his tackle was nowhere near as bad as the slap he received from Ballack earlier in the game.
''There is my foul on the one hand and his slap on the other, and I think that violent conduct is far worse than a foul,'' he told Sport Bild. ''Ballack really does surprise me. He complains for weeks when (Lukas) Podolski slaps him and yet he does it himself. He is no better than Podolski. What kind of behaviour is that?''
Boateng has also criticised Germany coach Joachim Low for showing mercy to his captain after he clashed with Podolski during the 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Wales in April 2009 while saying his foul on Ballack at the weekend should have been sanctioned with a red card.
''When I hear that, I can see that he has two different ways of seeing things,'' added Boateng. ''Can his captain slap whomever he wants? That was clearly violent conduct.
''If I had done that, I would have been banned for years. That is why I left the Germany set-up to represent Ghana.''
Boateng is due to come up against Germany in the World Cup this summer when the two nations clash in their final group game in Johannesburg on June 23.