Pjanic, who will turn 30 on April 2, joined Mundo Deportivo for an interview from the concentration of the Bosnian national team, where he is a leader with the ’10’ on his back. He talked about Messi, staying at Barcelona, Koeman and much more.
Did the goal against Real Madrid in the Champions League in 2009 mark your career?
“It was beautiful and it’s amazing that people still remember it. Scoring at the Santiago Bernabéu is always a special experience, now I want to do it with Barça.”
Is your idea to stay at Barça even though you are not counted on much by the coach?
“Yes, of course, I did not sign for Barça to leave the following year, I signed to make history in a club that had been on my path for many years.”
“When I was 16 years old, my father was meeting with Barça leaders, who wanted to sign me for Barça B. I was at Metz then and we didn’t know how to appreciate that Barça B is so important in this club. I decided to start my career in France but I always followed what Barça did. Two years ago, Abidal wanted to sign me, we were talking but the club invested in Antoine (Griezmann) and there was no money left for me. I had to wait two years to live the dream of being a Barça player. I came to Barça because of my game and my experience as a winner, that’s what they asked me to contribute when I signed for the Blaugrana club. They told me that my character and my experience would be vital to grow a generation of young people from La Masia who were climbing very strongly. Balance is essential and I came to provide that balance.”
Have you been disappointed by what you have experienced so far?
“Look, I’ve come to Barça to win the Champions League, that’s my goal. This year I want to help win the double, that’s my mentality. I never give up. If I don’t play, the next morning I am training harder than ever so that the coaches will notice that I am not giving up. I have not stopped training a single day, although I arrived later because of Covid-19. When I started with the symptoms, I couldn’t believe it. Koeman told me in preseason to be calm, to get in shape, not to be in a hurry. Then it was difficult for me to enter the team dynamics. Koeman doesn’t talk much to players so what I have to do is keep working to be ready when he needs me.”
How is your relationship with Messi?
“Spectacular. Leo talks to me a lot, he explains things about the environment that I didn’t understand at first. He has been aware of me from the first moment, encouraging me, helping me. Spectacular. As a footballer, we will never see another like him. I don’t know what he will do but I would like to be by his side for many years.”
Who has surprised you the most in the team?
“Pedri has a special intelligence, he is a footballer who will go very far. ‘Ous’ (Dembélé) has incredible pace and dribbling, he’s very good. But if we start to review the names, they are all very good. It is what you need to sign for Barça.”
What do you miss the most?
“Without a doubt to be able to play with a full Camp Nou. I have lived that feeling playing against Barça, jumping onto the pitch and looking up, it is impressive, a feeling that cannot be forgotten. I want to experience as soon as possible that strength that a full Camp Nou gives by cheering the team on. I want to play in an exultant Camp Nou: that will mean that we have regained normalcy, that people can enjoy themselves again.”
What would you ask Koeman?
“Continuity, two or three games to show my football. That is what any footballer needs. But I’m going to keep working every training session to earn that opportunity. The coach is betting a lot on the young people of La Masía, that is great for the entity because it means maintaining a style and betting on footballers that you have trained. I can contribute my experience in important matches.”