“The countryside was my medicine, where I was, where I was happy”

What do you see when you look back? A long road that is not that far, although I still see images of the 8-year-old boy who started at Barça and it seems like yesterday. It doesn’t seem to me that much time has passed, but there are many stories and experiences that show you that life goes fast, that the player stage is short. It has lasted me until I was 32 years old.

-What do you see in the future? I contemplate the same thing that that child saw: a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of ambition at the beginning of a new stage. That child did not have the objective of playing for Barça, but of enjoying and growing. The game made me happy. Now I will awaken the concerns that he had to do things. I would like to transfer and share those experiences, personal and sporting, with the new generations. I feel that responsibility. I don’t know if from a sports management position or in a more human facet.

-What was the trigger to retire? There is no time. I have played football since I was four years old naturally, innately, and he left it that way, naturally, without being forced by injury. It has been an accumulation of reasons. The illusion of that child has been transforming, modifying. For the first time, I have made a decision that I felt, not so much from a rational point of view, which is how decisions are usually made. The heart had hardened. I didn’t want football to make me suffer. He didn’t want an agony that didn’t exist.

-The review of his career… On the sporting level, I feel very fulfilled, I have competed at the highest level and I have had great personal experiences. The last two stages in the United States and Japan have filled me up a lot. It was very difficult for me to go from Linyola to Barcelona, ​​which is an hour and a half away by car, and it was much more difficult for me to go from Barcelona to Rome, which is right next door. It’s not the distance, of course. But when I left Rome, I left crying because I was very well. Also in Milan, in Amsterdam. Those constant changes and getting to know new mentalities, cultures, and games, completely different, enrich you.

“I didn’t want football to make me suffer. I didn’t want to live an agony that didn’t exist”

“Saving yourself is like winning a title. I saw Andrés (Iniesta) suffer last year and I told him so”

-Where did you feel most lost? I would say Mainz, although it was half a season. The team played with a 4-4-2. The day after my debut, the coach congratulated me. He had made a normal game. He congratulated me because I had run more than 9 kilometers. When we played against Bayern, which we tied 2-2 and virtually saved ourselves, he congratulated us because we had run ten kilometers more than Bayern and we had won I don’t know how many duels. Of course we ran. behind the ball

-Is saving yourself like a title? One hundred by one hundred. What I suffered those months is what I saw Andrés [Iniesta] suffer last year. He told her: we are going to save ourselves and you will see the satisfaction that we will take when we achieve it. In Germany he was alone in a hotel room suffering every day. In Mainz it was celebrated as a title.

-What title do you remember the most? The Cup against Athletic. Because it was the first final as a Barça player, because of the atmosphere in the stadium, because I scored a goal, because it was the first title… For a culé like me, winning any title is very special. They are all important. Then the Champions League, the…

-What was missing? If I said nothing… There would always be something else. I’ll take what I’ve experienced, with the 41 goals I scored with Barça, with the ten titles, with having played for Milan, Roma and the rest… When I took my photo with the ten trophies and compared myself with the photo of Xavi, Andrés, Piqué… It is something extraordinary. But they are also extraordinary guys like Sergio Canales, who has broken his knee three times and continues to compete. Like Sergio Asenjo, with four crusader injuries. Like Gerard Moreno… They are also exemplary. The anxiety processes that I experienced could have paralyzed me, but I continued. I value that.

-Will it be the Bojan who helps the Bojans of the future? In all clubs there is the same pattern: the need for immediate results. More and more immediate. It is not the fault of the youth who is in a hurry to train with the first team, but of those responsible for causing these situations. I have been with boys who have grown up playing among palm trees who would walk to Barcelona to play and it hurts me that there are boys in the infantile, cadet or youth who do not appreciate that they are at Barça. The important thing is the process the way. When a Barça footballer doesn’t play well, you still have to look at why he doesn’t play well. The human part is vital.

I went on vacation being Bojan de Linyola and I came back being the Bojan character who couldn’t walk around the city. It was so fast that it threw me off.”

“The countryside was my medicine, where I was, where I was happy”

You know it from your own experience. Each one has the sensitivity that they have, and your mind and your body react differently. My life changed in a month. I went on vacation being Bojan de Linyola and I came back being the Bojan character who couldn’t walk around the city. I had played in the Under-17 World Cup in Korea and I was in the team’s preseason. It was so fast that it threw me off.

-There were two Bojans. Exact. The field was my medicine, where I was, where I was happy. I left the field and my mind tried to process the change of being seen as a character, without privacy, which even conditioned my relationship with my friends.

“I have learned over the years that it is better not to know your idols; sometimes ignorance is better”

And a new wardrobe. The disenchantment of discovery when you have something idealized. The previous year I was in the stands watching them play and now I was going to play with my idols. The night before you imagine that you are entering a story, and when you discover that it is not a story, that those idols are people…

-The ideal is not the real. Over the years I have learned that it is better not to meet your idols. Those who tattoo the name of their idol without knowing what you are tattooing… Sometimes ignorance is better.

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-Had the virtuous circle turned into a vicious circle? I didn’t speak about what I felt at the moment I should have done it and it has been a step that I have taken throughout my career. I want to share it in the documentary, but not to be sorry, far from it. I am proud to have overcome adversity. My experiences are applicable to sport and life in general. I externalize it with a productive will and that it can be useful for the new generations.

-Has it been a movie life? Not even in the best of my dreams would I have imagined what I have experienced. Even living an act in which I finish my football stage with the presence of the president. With a video of ex-colleagues and athletes who have dedicated a few seconds to congratulate me, it shows that you have done something well, that your story has come not only because of sports, but also because of humanity. I will not change for any more title, nor for one more euro. He has exceeded the expectations of that eight-year-old boy.