Valeri Bojinov: A story of the other Wayne Rooney!

Valeri Bojinov

Valeri Bojinov, was a player who was destined for greatness, and was dubbed the new Wayne Rooney, but ended up as a “lost traveler”. A story about the greatest Bulgarian striker that never was, due to bad decisions and too big ego.

Valeri Bojinov was considered so big of a talent, that people expected him to push Bulgaria to its former glory.

You know Bulgaria used to be a force in football. The golden generation with Hristo Stoichkov at the helm, peaked in 1994 World Cup in USA.

They reached the semi-finale, where they (controversially) lost to Italy.

This was the best of Bulgarian football, at least internationally, but things eventually ended.

This Bulgaria side is a far cray from the Stoichkov one. Frankly, Bulgaria hasn’t had a team that could compete at the highest lever, for quite some time.

Dimitar Berbatov was the last “big” player to have played for the country, but he just couldn’t do as much as Stoichkov could (worse teammates).

It’s no wonder that the whole country, and everyone else, got excited by a young Bulgarian player who broke the record, and became the youngest foreign player to make a debut in Serie A.


He was only 15 years old, but he could play with the big boys in a big league!

Serie A was the best football league in 2002, so everyone got excited by 15-year old Valeri Bojinov who played for one of the smaller teams in Serie A, called Lecce.

A medium height with a very bulky physique, Bojinov looked a lot like Wayne Rooney. Although he had much darker hair than Rooney did (and a lot thicker hair).

Hell, Wayne Rooney looked a lot like Bojinov, given that the player made a faster debut in the league than the English tank.

Given his physical attributes and skill, every scout in the world saw Bojinov as the future best striker in the world.

Every football fan expected him to be the next big thing, while expectations at his home country grew with every match.

Bojinov decided to refuse other clubs to stay on at Lecce, which was a smart choice. One of the rare smart choices by the player.


He lived through one relegation and one promotion with Lecce, before finally leaving the club in January of 2005.

His next stop was Fiorentina.

You could say that it was a step up, but it was done in a very strange way. Bojinov was having his best season at Lecce, and could have easily stay for six months more, before leaving the club, but his ego was getting bigger with every match.

This probably represented the key moment, from which Bojinov never really recovered. It looked like he changed his club too soon.

Despite the “premature” transfer, this was to be the most expensive transfer in the player’s career.

He moved to Fiorentina for €13 million.

Bojinov couldn’t find his Lecce’s form at Fiorentina, where he scored just 10 goals in a season and a half. The funny thing is that the lack of goals wasn’t the main problem.

Valeri had clashes with coaches and teammates, and once (supposedly) said that he is too big of a star for Fiorentina. In other words, his ego was out of control. Obviously, this didn’t pleased Fiorentina’s leading man, and they decided to ditch him.


Bojinov made move, which was against a strange one. He went on loan to Juventus in Serie B. Juve was relegated that year due to Calciopoli affair, and Bojinov chose them as his next club.

He (probably) chose them, due to the famous name of the club, as everyone was ditching Juve at the time.

Juve got promoted got promoted that season, but Bojinov had another below average season. This time in Serie B, which was even worse.

Juve obviously didn’t want to sign him, so pesky Bojinov had to return to Florence.

Similar to Juve, no one wanted him at Fiorentina, and he was sold to Manchester City.


City was still a rather poor club in 2007, when Bojinov joined them. They expected a player that could intimidated defenses and score goals for fun. Basically, someone like Rooney.

Frankly, Man City  fans were quite happy with the new acquisition, but their happiness soon turned sour.

To call Bojinov a flop at Man City, would be an understatement. The player was battling injuries and bad form for two years, after which he left Manchester City and England to return back to Italy.

Much like his club’s career, Bojinov’s international career was not going that great. He played, but he didn’t score.

Slowly, but surely, everyone was losing faith in him.

Overall, he scored just 6 goals in 43 international appearances. I mean, some defenders have better stats (goals scored) than that.

After flopping at City, Bojinov went to Parma.


His first season there was a loan, after which, he was signed by the club. To be honest, his first season at Parma was quite solid (for Bojinov standards), and it wasn’t really a surprise that Parma bought him from City.

Still, this ended as a mistake. Bojinov had a very poor second season at Parma, as he scored just 3 goals, overall. That also meant that he was on the move again.

Bojinov signed for Sporting, a club where he wanted to resurrect his failing career, but achieve the opposite.

He was mainly a substitute player at Sporting, but one really silly move ended his time in Portugal.

Sporting played a Cup match against Moreirense, and got a penalty in the 92nd minute. Matias Fernandes was supposed to take the penalty kick, but Bojinov took the ball away from him and took the penalty himself. He missed, while Sporting lost.


Since Sporting, Bojinov’s career simply disintegrated.

He played for (his old) Lecce, Verona, Vicenza, Levski Sofia and Ternana in 3 years.

Strangely, but he didn’t impress in any of the clubs. He couldn’t even shine in his own country (with Levski), as he scored just 7 goals in a season.

After playing for so many clubs in such a short amount of time, without impressing for any of them, no one really wanted the player anymore.

That’s why chosing Partizan and Serbia was a no brainer, for a player that was still only 29 years old.


Bojinov signed for Partizan, more as a laughing-stock, who went from one of the best leagues, to one of the worst, in 5 short years.

No one expected much from Bojinov at Partizan, but he did surprise everyone. He had a season of his life at Serbia, as he scored 18 goals in a season.

A good achievement, but this is Serbia we are talking about, which is very far from any of the better leagues in Europe.

He stayed in Serbia for another year, before moving on to China in the early 2017.

He signed for Meizhou Hakka, a club that plays in the second Chinese league.


Not surprisingly, Bojinov didn’t stay at China for long, and has made another transfer just two weeks ago, when he signed for FC Lausanne-Sport in Swiss league.

Bojinov made a tough road, from being one of the most perspective players in modern football, to a substitute player for a club called Lausanne-Sport.

A career, which would be best described as a nightmare for any perspective football player. I mean, everything went downhill, ever since Bojinov quit Lecce in 2005.

It’s hard to say what was his main problem, but a bad attitude didn’t really help. Bojinov did have some serious injuries, but they just weren’t that damaging to his career.


Bulgarian wunderkind, has had 14 clubs in 16 years, which is a lot, well too much. This is also a thing that didn’t help his career, but again, wasn’t the crucial one.

I have a feeling that there was (probably) just a lack of true quality, as he simply didn’t improve as he should, since he left Lecce as an 18-year-old. I mean, he managed to score more than 10 goals a season, just twice in his career (once in Serbia), which is terrible by any standards.

Despite the fact that Bojinov, is still not that old, he is just 31 years old, it seems that his professional career is all but finished.

Bojinov was destined as the new Stoichkov, for Bulgaria, and new Rooney for Serie A, but ended up as a failed prospect, who had his best season in Serbia.