x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Bojan Krkic needs to take chance to impress at Roma

The Spaniard is looking to fulfill his potential at the Italian Serie A club after failing to build on a promising start at Barcelona.

Bojan Krkic is looking to make an impact at Roma.
Bojan Krkic is looking to make an impact at Roma.

Any young footballer seeking an example of how a spell in Serie A can relaunch a career needed to look no further, last weekend, than Kevin-Prince Boateng.

The AC Milan midfielder's hat-trick at Lecce galvanised the champions and reminded that, barely 15 months after leaving Portsmouth, a team relegated from the English Premier League, 24-year-old Boateng is thoroughly established as a major figure in Italian football.

Unpredictable, maybe, sometimes controversial, though not nearly as often as when recklessness and indiscipline were tarnishing his fame as one of the most gifted teenagers in his native Germany.

As Italian columnists and headline writers were putting themselves on nickname terms with "Boa", the case of little "Bo", another recent arrival in Serie A, also came to mind.

Bojan Krkic, "Bo" to some of his friends, was looking to jump-start his career in July when he joined Roma, who meet Boateng's Milan on Saturday.

Like Boateng in Germany, Bojan used to be a feted prodigy in the junior ranks of Spanish football.

Like Boateng, who played for Germany from Under 15 to Under 21 level but now represents Ghana - where his father comes from - Bojan had a choice about which country he would represent: his father is Serbian.

Bojan chose his native Spain, for whom he has played once in a competitive match, aged 18. He has not played for his country since. He is now 21.

That tells you that the rich potential - the evidence of junior goalscoring records set at Barcelona - has not quite been realised for the diminutive striker with the earnest face.

Barca let Bojan join Roma because he was getting insufficient opportunities in their starting XI, although the European champions retain an option to bring him back.

A natural finisher more than a creator, Krkic must now compete with the likes of Daniel Pablo Osvaldo, Marco Boriello and Francesco Totti for a starting berth at Roma, and carries the extra pressure of close association with a new coach, Luis Enrique, whom he accompanied from Barcelona.

These are challenges to stimulate him. It is no so long ago - the spring of 2010 - that Bojan was being picked ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, now of Milan, in the Barcelona team.

That did not please the giant Swede, who apparently once asked his then colleague: "Do you believe in the Almighty?" Krkic, puzzled, muttered "yes", to which Ibrahimovic declared: "In that case you believe in me!"

Krkic stayed silent. This "Bo" can seem timid by nature - unlike bold, vivacious "Boa".