El Centrocampista

TWISTING THE TRUTH – Bojan, Barça and media manipulation

By Lee Roden

With the international break in full swing, journalists in Spain (and indeed abroad) are struggling to find much to write about when it comes to La Liga.

This week, a new TV3 documentary on the life of Bojan Krkic in Rome arrived at a perfect time for such idle hands.

The headlines that soon followed were typically sensationalist, as has been the case for much of the stories surrounding the young striker this year.

The theme was anger: anger on behalf of Bojan, who if we believe what the papers are trying to lead us to believe, hates Guardiola for the way he was treated towards the end of his time at Barça.

The biggest dagger of them all is the quote (taken out of context) that “if Guardiola called me tomorrow and asked me to return to Barça, I would say no.”

Let us dispel such manipulation of words before it grows out of hand.

Some journalists believe their job is to use words in whatever way they see fit in order to create a good story.

On the contrary, I think a good story comes from the quality of the words (and indeed your own as a journalist), but not from altering their meaning. Journalism is to report, inform and entertain, but not to modify.

Having watched the documentary (which, by the way, is truly excellent and much better than such misuse of its words would imply), I can categorically tell you that Bojan never said these things.

First, here’s the background. TV3 spent a few days with Bojan in Roma, where they were shown around his new apartment, met his parents, and went on a typical tourist bus tour around the city with the young forward.

The journalist presenting the program is on record, in front of the camera, as saying that he did not wish to ask Bojan any questions about Guardiola or his departure until the time was right, so not to upset the young man.

On the final day, the time arrived.

First, Bojan divulged some information on how he felt in his final days at Barça. He notes that a combination of injuries and not training well due to a lack of happiness became a vicious circle, where he no longer wanted to go to training in the morning.

Krkic quite obviously highlights this as a bad thing on his own behalf, due to his own lack of self-confidence; never once suggesting it was a consequence of Guardiola or his actions.

The next part is the most crucial and, indeed, has turned out to be the most manipulated.

Bojan then told the journalist that, in the end, he did not feel Guardiola was confident in his abilities. Krkic said that his friends and family told him to speak to Guardiola, and so he tried.

The problem was, despite (or perhaps because of) his inner turmoil, every time he spoke to Pep he just couldn’t produce the words he wanted to, as to explain his situation adequately to the coach.

Bojan quite clearly (and indeed, repeats several times here to clarify) admits that this was his own fault, and not Guardiola’s.

The sense of regret here is not for Pep’s actions but rather Bojan’s own inaction.

Soon after, Bojan moves on to the other main source of misquotation in the piece.

When asked by the journalist if, hypothetically, Guardiola was to call tomorrow and ask him to return to Barça, Bojan replies: “Right now, no”.

That’s “right now”, with the emphasis provided by the player.

Not “no, never” or “absolutely not” as the press might lead us to believe.

Bojan then elaborates, explaining that he wants to have a year of continuity in football, improve his playing, and get game time, after which he will consider his options.

As to not close any doors however, he finally adds (and this is an important point to note) that “you never know what can happen in football, however”.

To sum up then, Bojan not only admitted his own role in his lack of game time at Barça last year, but also tried to reinforce his desire to undo this by working hard at Roma before returning to Catalunya.

How this has been manipulated to mean “Guardiola doesn’t like me, and I don’t like him” by the media is beyond me.

It’s a shame that such a well-made and honest documentary, that clearly avoided sensationalism and attempted gave the player a platform on which to express himself fully has now become the source of some terrible journalism.

Be careful what you read, folks, and remember who’s writing it.


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