The earnest question of whether Lionel Messi could do it on a cold, wet night in Stoke has persisted as cliched joke for a few years now. So when Barcelona surprisingly sold Bojan, a 23-year-old once hyped as the next Messi, to Stoke City, the only explanation was that Messi personally asked him to go there on an expedition to see if the conditions in this mythical place are as challenging as the fables suggest. This is Bojan's first letter back to his friend.
As promised, I am writing to let you know that I have arrived in Stoke. Gerard Pique was right. It is a real place. But the tales of endless nights filled with sheets of rain and frigid wind like a witch's breath that instantly turns foreigners to stone is not true. I have seen the sun here and it is quite warm, but I realize the season has not yet begun. Perhaps that is when the horrific conditions described on the internet curse the land. I must admit that I am still quite scared.
I have signed a contract and now I must stay for four years. They keep telling me that I am a Potter now. Does this mean that I must do drugs or learn to make decorative vases? I do not know. Again, I am scared. But I will do what I must to survive.
Once I signed the papers, they put me on another plane to join the team in Germany. All of my new teammates seem very nice. Marc Muniesa is here and he seems to be doing well (if he was blinking secret messages to me, I could not decipher them). The manager, Mark Hughes, told me he is great friends with Pep Guardiola and asked me if Pep ever spoke of him. I told him no, but Mr. Hughes said that Pep was probably just embarrassed that he taught him everything he knows and wanted to keep it a secret. This made me very excited to play for such a great man! And disappointed that Pep would keep secrets like this.
There is also an actual giant in the team. He is the size of at least 17 Xavis! The other players call him "The Crouchie." He appears to be made of enchanted broomsticks. He travels around town with a beautiful princess. I haven't spoken to her yet, but I will ask her if she is the one who brought him to life with a magic spell. He smiles a lot, so I don't think he will eat me — even though I am probably the same size as his food.
I also met another teammate called Charlie Adam. He came up to me and looked at my ankles and said, "I bet these snap easy" and then walked away. I couldn't tell if he was joking on me or not. I remain hopeful that he was.
That is all I can say right now, Leo. I am very tired and I must go to sleep before Mr. Hughes tells me again that he only played one season for Barca because Gary Lineker feared he would make him look bad.
Yours in bravery,
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- Sports & Recreation
- Lionel Messi
- Pep Guardiola