Ex-Barcelona prodigy Bojan Krkic announces retirement aged 32

Former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic has announced his immediate retirement from football at the age of 32.

Bojan had spent the last two years playing for Vissel Kobe but has been without a club since leaving the Japanese side in January.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Barca held an event for Bojan at Camp Nou on Thursday, where he officially revealed his retirement from the game after 16 years as a professional.

“These decisions are not easy. I have been away from home for 12 years and I feel fulfilled professionally,” he said. “I wanted to enjoy the next stage [of my life] closer to my family. It’s not a physical issue.

“I have had three injuries, but I recovered, I am 100%. It is a feeling, it’s the reality. I am more excited about doing other things now than to keep playing football. I am grateful for everything I have experienced.

“I have played for Barcelona, I’ve played with great players, I have won trophies and I have played in other leagues. But I am ready to start new things now.”

Injuries and anxiety issues have contributed to a premature end to his career, but he still made over 400 appearances for nine clubs, scoring 93 goals.

Bojan first broke onto the scene as a talented teenager at Barca after scoring 900 goals for the club’s youth teams and being branded the new Lionel Messi.

He made his debut for the first team just 19 days after turning 17 in 2007 and went on to score 41 goals in 163 appearances across four seasons.

However, he has since spoken about suffering anxiety attacks at the limelight which came with his breakthrough, which included winning one cap for Spain in 2008.

After spells on loan with AC Milan and Ajax, he joined Stoke City on a permanent deal in 2014 and later went on to play for German side Mainz before returning to Spain with Alaves.

He then spent a year in Canada with Major League Soccer side CF Montreal (then known as Montreal Impact) before joining Vissel Kobe in 2021, where he played alongside former Barca teammate Andres Iniesta.