Bojan Krkić Pérez, simply known as Bojan is a former Barcelona player who recently revealed that he felt dizzy every day for five months in the build-up to Euro 2008.
The wonderkid made this revelation known during an interview with Marca as part of its preparations for Euro 2016.
The Spanish footballer who plays as a forward or winger for English club Stoke City explained how his breakthrough in the 2007-08 season for Barcelona came at just 17 years, breaking the world record previously set by Lionel Messi. Unfortunately, the sudden rise to fame took its toll on him.
According to the Spanish player, the pressures of stardom was so much so that he was on medication every day and was threatened with “constant fear over the possibility of falling unconscious” in matches. In his words: “It was the 2007-08 season. I spent preseason with the first team then went to the Under-17 World Cup. I went back to Barca and upon my return, the Coach played me in the Champions League, I scored my first goal … Everything was going very quickly,” the Stoke City forward began.
“Until January, I took the situation well. One day I went to the opening of a friend’s gym, and just after the ceremony, everyone got up and went towards me. It was a small place and I felt very overwhelmed. I was wearing a sweater and a jacket and started getting very hot.
“I ran to the bathroom to take my clothes off. I began to feel a very strong and constant dizziness. From that moment, the situation was already changing until the match against Osasuna, when I began to feel dizzy again.
“Before the game, I got a little dizzy in the hotel. The Coach gave his line-up and started me. Something had to be done, so on the bus I told my doctor that I felt a little poorly. He gave me a caffeine pill and I had a good game. I got home, my blood pressure dropped and I lay in bed, but suddenly I began to tremble and had seizures.
“It was a time for a lot of nervousness on the part of us three (referring to him and his parents). They took me to hospital, where I spent the night and was reassured. From that moment, it all started and I became dizzy every day.
“It was a pretty strong anxiety attack and something I couldn’t control. My body reached a point of maximum tension. I took some pills and they soothed me. The doctors think that from that day I was dizzy 24 hours a day. There wasn’t a second day when I wasn’t dizzy, although sometimes less so because of the medication.
“I was a very sensitive person, things affected me a lot and I lived in the very idealized world of football. Things changed from the impact of playing in a big team, being surrounded by top player and scoring goals being more important than anything else. The pressure came over me. You think you have everything under control, you don’t.
“It was constant, although there were times when I felt okay. I took medication constantly, especially when going to training and for matches. It was a very difficult situation [on his decision to opt out of Euro 2008], but at the same time it was very clear. It was the limit.
“I went to games with a constant tension over the possibility of falling unconscious. Luis Aragones called me the day before naming the squad. I traveled with my mother to Barcelona to, because I was going to my people many days to get away from everything.
“He said that they intended to call me up. I said I obviously wanted to go. Being called up by the Coach of Spain for a European Championship was something incredible for a 17-year-old, but I said no: ’I just took a pill, I’ve come here to train, but I can’t go to the Euros. I’m really at my limit.
“’I’m afraid to go to the national team and risk something happening to me during the trip or when I’m around many people. Furthermore I don’t see myself with strength to face this situation.’
“It hurt a lot, any young lad would love to go to a European Championship, but I couldn’t He told me what he thought and I spoke to Puyi (Carlos Puyol).
“The headlines that appeared in the Press was that the national team called up Bojan, but he said ‘no’. This hurt me a lot because people began to think that was what it was. We spoke about how we could turn it around, so I decided to give an interview to TV3, in which I said I needed a break after an intense year.
“That weekend, I trained with Spain, we went to Murcia and the fans began to insult me and tell me everything they felt. They shouted things at me. It was the beginning of a very complicated situation.
“I finished the season and stopped. I went on holiday and disappeared from Barcelona. I isolated myself, first in my village and then in Formentera, at a time when there was no-one around.
“I disconnected from everything and took a necessary breath. My medication started going down and in mid-June I stopped it altogether. I remember asking my mother, ‘Mum, will this sickness ever stop?’. But she had no answer. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I was sure I’d get much stronger.
“I’ll never regret that decision. It was very bad and I was at my limit. You don’t know what it’s like to be dizzy for 24 hours, every day for five months. Not one day did I did get up and feel fine. I had to take Trankimazin to be more focused and calm.
“At the time, I couldn’t imagine what the national team, with new teammates and the pressure of a Euro Championship would be like. I wasn’t prepared to deal with it.”
In his debut season for Barcelona, Bojan scored 12 goals in 48 matches.
In total, he spent four seasons at Camp Nou, scoring 41 goals in 162 games before he was sold in July 2011 to Italian side Roma for a fee of €12 million. While in Rome, he scored seven goals in 37 appearances in 2011–12 and then spent the 2012–13 on loan at Milan, where he scored three goals in 27 games.
Roma did not exercise their option of an additional €28 million to sign Bojan definitively, and so Barcelona re-signed him for €13 million.
He spent the 2013–14 season on loan at Dutch club Ajax with whom he helped win the Eredivisie title.
In July 2014, Bojan joined English club Stoke City for €1.8 million.
As a Spanish youth international, he won European Championships with the Under-17 team in 2007 and the Under-21 team in 2011, as well as earning his only cap for the senior team in 2008.
He has also represented the Catalonian national team seven times since 2007.