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Former Barcelona wonder kid Bojan Krki? cannot play for Serbia, says FIFA

Bojan Krki is trying to resurrect a once-promising career at Mark Hughe’s Stoke City
Anirudh Menon
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 23 Sep 2016
News

Now trying to resurrect his career at Stoke, the former  Barcelona wonder kid had attracted interest from the Serbian FA due to his father's nationality especially now that there is little (or more realistically, no) chance of Bojan playing for Spain. FIFA, however, has denied the request citing the ironclad rules that govern a player's national team eligibility.

It is another blow for a player who was once slated for Greatness.  If we were to look at Bojan Krki Pérez's career in reverse, it would seem like the stuff of dreams – starts off at Stoke, goes on loan to Ajax, moves on to AC Milan and then jumps to Francesco Totti's AS Roma before settling in at Barcelona. 

In reality, though, the magnitude of the fall from grace is amplified by the heights from which he did fall. The diminutive player of Spanish-Serbian descent played 104 times for Barcelona before he even turned 21; and was slated for big things. 

It wasn't just at Barcelona either. Representing his mother's nation of Spain he was the joint highest top scorer for the Spanish U-17 side – despite playing only 40 minutes in four out of five matches, and being a year younger than most everyone else – in the 2006 European U-17 Championship. Next year, he inspired Spain to a fourth place finish in the FIFA U-17 World Cup where he finished with the Bronze Ball, behind Macauley Chrisantus and a certain young German tyro named Toni Kroos.

During all this, Serbia approached him to play for the senior team of his Father's nation, but because of his attachment to Spain, he rejected them. A short while later the promising wunderkind was handed his senior team debut for a talent-packed Spain side (aged just 18) against Armenia in a FIFA world cup qualifier in 2008. 

 It never did work out, though. After his career tailed off at Barca, interest from a Furia Roja side that was dominating international football waned and as on today, that substitute appearance against Armenia, unfortunately, remains his only appearance for the senior Spain team. 

Serbia officially sought permission to employ services of the playmaker, despite the well-established FIFA rule that locks in players with a national team after they appear in a competitive match. 

Before FIFA announced their decision, Serbia coach Slavoljub Muslin had said  -

"It's still early for me to think about it [Bojan]. People from the FFS [Football Association of Serbia] are working on getting a permit from FIFA so that Bojan can put on the Serbian shirt”

"If the reply is positive, I will count on him for the November games, but currently I am only considering players who have the right to play against Moldova and Austria in the World Cup qualifiers

Now that FIFA has announced their decision, Serbia will face a six-team 2018 World Cup qualifying group that also includes Gareth Bales' Wales, Republic of Ireland and Georgia, with no doubts on Bojan's eligibility.

Published 23 Sep 2016
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