Bojan Krkić Pérez: From Barca with Love

The player mostly known as “Bojan” (because that’s what happens when you play at Barca, you get reduced to one name) has almost everything stacked against him. First of all, he’s ex-Barca. Second of all, he’s on loan from Roma. Third of all, he looks like he should be in a boy band, not on a football pitch. And most recently, he chose his jersey number based on his age. It can be hard to take someone seriously with all of this going against him. But if you look beyond the artificial-looking obvious details, there’s a little something more to him than a boyish face and a history of playing for clubs I don’t like. Maybe this loan deal is more than meets the eye.

Bojan came to Milan with big dreams amidst so much uncertainty

For one thing, Bojan comes from good stock. His father was a Serbian footballer who played for Red Star Belgrade. That gives him a bit of street cred right there, right? His mother is Spanish, which is why he was born in Catalonia in Spain and why every once in a while you will see the “Pérez” tacked on to his name. It also explains why he has represented the Spanish national teams at every age level, as well as the Catalan regional team.

Bojan seems most notable for breaking records. For example, he played his entire youth career with Barcelona, where he supposedly scored over 500 goals. For the 2006-07 season he played with the Barcelona B team until he was old enough to sign a professional contract. And once he did, the records started falling. His first record was to break Lionel Messi’s record of the youngest player to officially play for Barcelona at the age of 17 years, 19 days. Three days later, he became the youngest Barca player to play in a Champions League match. In October, he became the youngest ever goalscorer for Barcelona in a league match. His most distinguished record set that year was a record of 10 goals in his debut season, the record previously held by the great Raúl.

Breaking records at Barca

He also has the unusual distinction of following in the footsteps of would-be Milan players. After Zambrotta left, he took the number 11 jersey. After Ibra left, he took the number 9 jersey. So maybe, just maybe, he’s actually meant to be at Milan, and his goalscoring ways are about to explode. Or maybe not. When was the last time a Spanish footballer succeeded in Serie A?

From 2007 to 2011, Bojan scored 26 goals in 104 appearances, many of those appearances coming off the bench. He had to compete for playing time with Lionel Messi,, Pedro, and David Villa, so it was to his credit that he got playing time. During the 2010-11 season, he even captained an official match.

Would not feature in Roma's plans this year

It was for the 2011-12 season that he was sold to Roma for €12 million plus a Barcelona buyback clause and a €28 million Roma buyout clause. He made 33 appearances and scored 7 goals for the club, but was not going to feature in the attack-minded Zeman’s plans, so was loaned to AC Milan for this season.

Thus far, Bojan’s 4 appearances in official matches for Milan have been not particularly memorable. Meaning he hasn’t scored any goals in official matches. But if you watch carefully, he actually has a lot of quality. He handles the ball well and has done more to set up plays than anyone else up front. I saw someone describe him as the “glue” that was holding our offense together. And let’s face it, when you have our infamous number 10 up front, it can’t be easy. If he would just pass the ball back to Bojan here or there, maybe Bojan would actually be able to score a goal or two every once in a while.

Don't judge a book by its cover

Bojan is fairly fast, dribbles well, and also did well to score so much at Barcelona, especially with so much competition for playing time. While everyone knows how different the style of play is in Serie A than La Liga, it’s hard to be patient while a player like Bojan acclimates to a new style of play. (And his time at Roma doesn’t count, because they’re… well, Roma.) It’s hard to know if Allegri’s newer formations will suit him, too. The hail mary attempts at Milan success have left many scratching their heads, and Bojan without much playing time. Plus, Allegri’s apparent need for a “reference point” up front leaves a better all-around player like Bojan on the bench.

Bojan may be Barca born and raised, but he is no diver. Which gives him a lot of credit in my eyes. He works hard, says all the right things, and is certainly talented. And even if he looks like he should be in a boy band, he seems 100% committed to giving Milan his all on the pitch. Personally, I think we are very lucky to have acquired a player of his talent on loan this year. And I think that if he is actually given some playing time, he will start scoring, and often, too. With his contract having been re-negotiated to allow a Milan buyout clause, I am hoping the Spanish player is successful for us this season and really comes into his own. Even if he chose his jersey number by his age, something my children used to do when they were younger. Because if you can score goals, everything else is forgiven. A belated Welcome to Milan, Bojan!

This post inspired by the music of Fall Out Boy

Our next match is
Lazio vs. Milan
Saturday, October 20 • 20:45 CEST (2:45 EDT)

Bojan Krkić Pérez: From Barca with Love Bojan Krkić Pérez: From Barca with Love Reviewed by Elaine on 3:56 AM Rating: 5
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