Stoke City forward Bojan Krkic began his professional career with Barcelona, having his character and skills nurtured by the Catalan club’s famed La Masia when he was nine-years-old. Bojan quickly emerged as one of the brightest prospects to ever play for the La Liga giant’s youth academy – scoring 126 goals during his first season.
The young forward scored nearly 900 goals during his time at La Masia before making his professional debut for Barcelona at the age of seventeen against Osasuna.
The teenager enjoyed two good seasons for the first team before then-manager Pep Guardiola seemed to lose confidence in the player. Bojan’s form subsequently slipped and he eventually pushed for a move away from the club.
After spending time with Roma, AC Milan and Ajax, the forward signed for Stoke City this summer and has started to regain the form that had clubs fighting for his signature as a teenager
In an interview with the British tabloid the Daily Mail, Bojan’s father explains that Guardiola’s broken promise was the reason behind his son’s departure from Barcelona. He also reveals that when Bojan was 16-years-old, the forward turned down offers from Manchester United and Chelsea in order to remained with the La Liga giants.
“I remember United were interested in him when he was 16,” Bojan Sr. said. “Chelsea were very serious, too, a year or two later, just before he signed a new deal. Luis Scolari was manager and Frank Arnesen flew out to speak to us. But Bojan only really wanted to play for Barcelona.”
“In the title run-in in 2010, he [Guardiola] kept [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic on the bench. Bojan played, scoring at Sevilla and Tenerife, and they were decisive goals. Then, when the season ended, they signed David Villa.”
“In the end, Bojan asked to leave for Roma because Guardiola broke a promise that he would play some part in the Champions League final at Wembley [in 2011 against Manchester United].”
Now, the forward’s father believes his son is happy in England and credits Stoke City manager Mark Hughes for helping Bojan regain his confidence and form.
“When Hughes was at Manchester City, he called us and tried to sign Bojan,” his father told the Daily Mail. “When he was at Fulham, he tried to sign Bojan. So when he called again at Stoke, Bojan said he wants to be at a club where he is appreciated and treated well. The name of the club doesn’t matter. He wants to enjoy his football. Hughes sat down and convinced him it was the right move.”
“At Stoke, he is playing like an animal,” Bojan Sr. concluded. “He saves his best for the big games. He loves Mark Hughes and his training sessions are creative. He is playing behind the forward and he has the freedom to express himself but he’s fighting for the team, too. He chases everything, he works for the team.”
Programming note: Stoke City vs. Chelsea will be shown LIVE on NBC Sports Network this afternoon, with coverage starting at 2:00pm EST.
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