£6m Manchester City injury flop scores first goal since returning to homeland

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Valeri Bojinov had never played in his Bulgarian homeland - not even as a youth team player.

When Manchester City snapped up Valeri Bojinov in 2007 they got their hands on a player once tipped for instant stardom after a blistering start to his career in Italy. He made his debut for Lecce aged just 15 - and soon joined Fiorentina at the age of 18.

He spent time on loan at then Serie B Juventus - but his early promise had already begun to look compromised by his unfortunate injury record.

But City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson was a huge fan - so spent around £6 million of Thaksin Shinawatra’s fortune on the Bulgarian.

Upon his arrival City chief executive Alistair Mackintosh stated:

"Our signing of Valeri is another sign of the impact made by Dr Thaksin Shinawatra and Sven-Goran Eriksson. Valeri is an exciting young player and a great addition to the squad."

It proved to be a monumental waste of money.

He suffered a cruciate ligament injury in his first month at the club and then an Achilles problem which saw him play just three games in his debut season.

The next campaign was not much better - eight appearances and one goal under Mark Hughes after more bad luck with injury and subsequent recovery.

In 2009 they took a hit on the player and sent him out on loan to Parma - a move which became permanent in 2010.

Since then Bojinov has been around the block thanks to discipline, injury and form issues.

He couldn’t get in the first-team at the Gialloblu so joined Sporting Lisbon - but after missing a penalty he was not supposed to take against Moreirense in a Cup game he became a pariah in Lisbon.

He subsequently spent time on loan in Italy with former club Lecce, Verona and Vicenza all with varying levels of success.

But in January he decided to do something he had never done - and made the move to his homeland of Bulgaria.

The 28-year-old left the country at the age of 12 to Malta - where his stepfather Sasho Angelov was about to begin playing for Pieta Hotspurs - and he soon joined the clubs academy, staying until he was 14 when Lecce took him to Italy.

So bizarrely he has never played in Bulgaria.

And yesterday he scored his first official goal for his new team Levski Sofia - for whom he signed a six-month deal in January.

He banged in a 49th minute strike in a Bulgarian Cup game against Botev Plovdiv - and will hope this is the first of many in a new chapter of his career.

Skip to 2.18 to see his moment…

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