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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 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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