- Bojan has joined Mainz on a six-month loan from Stoke.
- A breakout star at Barcelona who broke a Messi record.
- Has also played for Roma, AC Milan and Ajax.
1. FSV Mainz 05 pulled off one of the transfer coups of the month in signing prodigiously gifted Spanish forward Bojan Krkic on loan from Stoke City FC until the end of the season.
bundesliga.com brings you all you need to know about the former FC Barcelona teen sensation...
1) Move over Messi
Following a rapid rise through Barcelona's youth ranks, Bojan signed professional terms with the club on his 17th birthday in 2007, and soon went about making history for the Catalan club in his debut season. After breaking Lionel Messi's record as the youngest Barca player to feature in a La Liga match - aged 17 years and 19 days – he also became the club’s youngest league goalscorer a month later. In April that season he became the first player born in the 1990s to score in the UEFA Champions League, too. He ended his debut campaign with 12 goals in 48 appearances - stunning numbers for a teenager.
2) El Clasico impact
In November 2010, Real Madrid CF travelled to Barcelona for Jose Mourinho’s first El Clasico as Real’s coach. Bojan helped to make it a miserable evening for all connected with the white half of Madrid, as he came off the bench to assist Jeffren for the fifth goal in a 5-0 whitewash. Mainz's Rhein-Main-Derby rivals Eintracht Frankfurt have been warned!
3) Two views of Guardiola
After featuring sparingly in his final two seasons at Barca between 2009 and 2011, Bojan decided to leave the club and later revealed that he did not say goodbye to coach Pep Guardiola when departing Catalonia. "As a fan," Krkic said, “Guardiola is the best coach in the world, but personal things have happened to me [that] were hurtful. He was not fair with me on several occasions, and this is one of the reasons that I decided to leave.”
His heart set on playing regular first-team football, Bojan left Barcelona for Serie A club AS Roma in 2011. Despite registering seven goals and one assist in 37 appearances in all competitions in his debut season for I Giallorossi, Bojan was on the move again a year later, joining AC Milan on loan. A further three Serie A goals followed in 2012/13, before Barcelona exercised their option to buy back their prodigious La Masia graduate. Bojan nevertheless spent the 2013/14 on loan at AFC Ajax, with whom he won the Eredivisie title.
5) Wanted by Hughes
Bojan had long been admired by Stoke City FC Boss Mark Hughes, who attempted to sign him for both The Potters and his former club Manchester City FC. Former FC Bayern München striker Hughes even recruited Marc Muniesa, another former Barcelona player, to Stoke in an attempt to help make up Bojan’s mind. It worked: Hughes finally got his man in July 2014.
6) Big boots, twinkle toes
Bojan is a diminutive 1m70 tall. His low centre of gravity makes him difficult to knock off the ball, and his quick control and turn of pace mean he is comfortable operating out wide or through the middle in the final third. More of a centre-forward in his younger days, Bojan has invariably been used in attacking midfield in recent years, from where he has still managed 14 goals in 54 games for Stoke. Mainz lost their joint-record Bundesliga scorer Yunus Malli to VfL Wolfsburg in the winter transfer window, but in Bojan, they may just have found a maker and taker who can pick up the mantle.
Watch: Krkic discusses his move to the Bundesliga with Mainz:
7) International options
Born in the municipality of Linyola 90 miles west of Barcelona to a Serbian father and a Spanish mother, Bojan Krkic Perez – to give him his full name – opted to represent Spain in 2008. Serbia had tried to poach him that year, but to no avail. "I am honoured that I was called by [Serbia coach] Radomir Antic to play for Serbia," said the then-18-year-old. "However I am Spaniard and will play only for Spain." Bojan’s wish came true that September, when he came on for Arsenal FC’s Santi Cazorla in a 4-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying win over Armenia. It remains his only senior cap, though he has scored for Catalunya in friendly matches against Argentina and Colombia without FIFA jurisdiction since.
8) Basketball fan
When Bojan is not terrifying opposition defences he enjoys winding down watching other sports, primarily basketball. Barcelona’s basketball team, who are 18-time domestic champions. “I have read [Chicago Bulls legend] Michael Jordan’s biography,” he says. “At home we have a hoop and playing it helps me switch off. I am better watching than playing though!"
9) Social media whizz
Fans of Bojan will be delighted to learn they can stay in touch with the Mainz man and keep track of his day-to-day activities with just the touch of a button. A regular on the social media scene, Bojan has close to a million followers on Twitter, as well as a further 373k on Instagram. He also has a popular Facebook page, where he posts everything from arty match snaps to light-hearted selfies and recordings.
This is how 2007 ended for me & how I want 2017 to begin, with lots of laughter, which is a sign of joy. Wishing you a 2017 full of smiles! pic.twitter.com/pavVwGHBuf— Bojan Krkic (@BoKrkic) January 1, 2017
10) Recipe for success
Away from the pitch Bojan is an avid baker, and won Stoke’s in-house “Best Baker” competition in late 2015. The contest was judged by British Bake-Off judge Paul Hollywood, and Bojan’s triple-layer, strawberry-and-cream sponge confection entry saw him win the title ahead of teammates Muniesa and Joselu, Don’t expect him to eat his confectionary creations, though: the svelte Bojan has a dairy-free diet which only has room for wholewheat rice and pasta and organic meat!