Bojan Krkic has told IBTimes UK that manager Mark Hughes was one of the main reasons behind his summer move from Barcelona to Stoke City, revealing the boss has been monitoring him since his managerial days at Manchester City.
After joining the Barcelona academy at the age of nine, the Spaniard broke every record in every youth category and was once hailed as the next Lionel Messi.
Bojan also beat the Argentine as the youngest player to score in La Liga for the Catalans at the age of 17 years and 54 days.
But even though he had a sensational debut campaign at the Nou Camp, Bojan failed to establish himself at the first team in the following campaigns. After a number of inconsistent loan spells at Roma, Milan, and Ajax, he joined Stoke this summer.
After the Spaniard scored his first Premier League goal during the 2-1 victory at Tottenham, he explained to IBTimes UK why he decided to join Stoke this summer.
"[Hughes] had already shown interest in me in recent years [when he was at Manchester City]," said Bojan.
"And this summer we finally had the opportunity to be together. He told me that last season they changed the style of Stoke (for a nicer game) and that they still wanted to improve. I saw an ambitious project with a manager that wanted me. And also I was attracted by the Premier League"
La Liga side Deportivo tried to beat Stoke for his services until the very last minute.
When asked why he rejected them, he said: "I am very pleased by the interest that [Deportivo manager] Victor Fernandez show in me but coming to the Premier League was important. I thought it was the best decision for me."
"I still had a one year contract at Barcelona but I tried to find the best option for me and it was coming to Stoke."
When questioned how he has managed to assimilate the huge turnaround in his life, from being compared to Lionel Messi to playing at Stoke, he said: "The footballer's career is very long and staying on the top for many years is always very difficult."
"I started very young and it is not easy to assimilate what I achieved at the age of 17. I thank God for having played during four years in the best Barcelona of all times, but playing in the Premier League is also very important. I'm 24 and I am still have a lot of targets to get.
"My target is enjoying and proving to myself that I am progressing. Games like the one against Tottenham are good to get. But now I need to keep working."