Stoke City forward Bojan Krkic has revealed that some past words from former Barcelona teammate Thierry Henry helped convince him to move to England this summer.
Having made his first-team debut for Barca at age 17, Bojan would go on to score 41 goals in 162 games over the next four seasons at the Nou Camp, winning three La Liga titles and two Champions League winner’s medals in the process.
However, the 24-year-old’s career would stagnate badly following a move to Roma in 2011, getting sent out on loan to AC Milan for 2012-13 campaign, before he was sold back to the Catalan giants the following summer.
Another season-long loan at Ajax last term seeing him fail to impress, the Spanish attacker then opted to sign a four-year deal at the Britannia Stadium in July and, after a slow start, appears to be coming into his elements.
Scoring one goal in seven games so far, Bojan insists he loved the passion at Barca but, as Henry had told him before, life in England is a welcome escape from the suffocating pressure in Catalonia.
“I remember when Thierry Henry came to Barcelona, after 10 days he was like: ‘Wow!’ He played here, in England, a long time. He said in England it was easy, the people never came to the training ground and the journalists visited once a week,” he told the Guardian.
“At Barcelona it’s completely different. There are 5,000 people at training every day, journalists there every day.
“I love the passion at Barcelona, but I like it here. In Spain, people do not respect the players, the same in Italy. In England, it looks like a different world – the people admire the player, but also respect the player.”
Bojan admits that he has not made an ideal start with the Potters, but now believes that he is primed to become a core contributor under Mark Hughes, who previously tried to sign the one-time capped international while Manchester City boss.
“I knew Stoke was a historic club and when I learned Mark wanted me in this team, it was a great motivation,” he said.
“The first few months have been important to improve my physical condition and get used to a new league. But anyone will tell you, the more you play, the better rhythm you find.
“I think I have played well in some games but people will say Spurs was my best match because I scored and we won!”