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Can he ride it on a cold rainy night in Stoke? Ex-Barcelona (and Stoke City) footballer Bojan launches new gravel bike brand

After winning the Champions league and proving his worth in Stoke, what’s left for him to do? Well of course, partner with former teammate Andres Iniesta to launch a new gravel bike brand

Bojan Krkic, the only player (according to our research) to lift a Champions League alongside Messi AND prove that he can do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke, has a new interest: competitive gravel racing.

The Catalan footballer, who also played for Milan, Roma and Ajax, launched a new gravel bike brand GUAVA with his former teammate and World Cup winner Andres Iniesta.

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The project is the brainchild of Iniesta’s Never Say Never Ventures, partnered with David Álvarez and Nacho Suárez, who have more than 25 years of experience in the bicycle industry.

GUAVA’s website reads: “We believe that gravel is where all the cycling community can meet. Whether you’re come from the road side, the mountain bike, or are focused on gravel – everybody is welcome here. Ride in lycra, wear a visor on your helmet, ride alone or in groups. This is cycling’s democracy.”

Bojan recently announced his retirement from football at the age of 32. On Thursday, Barcelona held an event commemorating his 16 years in professional football, in which he won the La Liga four times and Champions League twice and an Eredivisie with Ajax on loan.

Most recently, he played for Japanese side Vissel Kobe. However, he’s now swapped the trimmed turf for bumpy stones and fire roads, saying that he fell in love "at first sight" with gravel, and loves to get out on the trail whenever he can.

Speaking about the new venture, Bojan said, “I think that when I enter this project, it will be to stay and I'll continue to be linked to cycling. It is a good way to combine sports and social activity. I could participate soon to be in some races. I'm going to prepare for it.”

Bojan told Spanish publication AS that he has always liked cycling, both as a means of transport and training his body for football, but for the last five years he’s become a fan of the gravel.

He also added that with helmet and glasses, he often goes unnoticed which helps him to socialise with people and keep his anonymity intact.

Bojan added that he’s committed to putting himself on the seat of the bike (and not the one in front of the tele, unlike some of us, ouch). “I don't watch cycling races on TV, to be honest. I'm more about practising it. Before I used to go more with the mountain one, but with the gravel I had a love at first sight… I usually do two or three-hour routes, especially on weekends, but also some daily morning,” he said.

The forward, who rose through Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy and was once compared to Lionel Messi in terms of talent, said that he is here to stay in the sport and with the new venture. For what’s it worth, this might just be the second time that he’s got the upper hand on Messi, having already proven his worth in England. Who knows, we might see him in the Gralloch this May!

Adwitiya joined in 2023 after finishing his masters in Journalism from Cardiff University, with a dissertation focusing on active travel. He's currently living in Cardiff and for the most part moans about the abruptly ending cycle lanes, if he's not cursing the headwind. Adwitiya also covers local and national politics for Voice Wales, and sometimes dabbles in topics related to science, tech and the environment. Cycling became a part of his life just a couple of years ago, and now he can't think of a single reason why anyone would drive if they could cycle. He usually uses his bike for commuting, but he also loves excursions on the Taff trail, however never underestimate his ability to find an excuse to watch something on GCN instead.

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