Bojinov with Levski in 2014
|Full name||Valeri Emilov Bojinov|
|Date of birth||15 February 1986|
|Place of birth||Gorna Oryahovitsa, Bulgaria|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|2006–2007||→ Juventus (loan)||18||(5)|
|2009–2010||→ Parma (loan)||30||(8)|
|2012||→ Lecce (loan)||10||(1)|
|2012||→ Verona (loan)||13||(1)|
|2013||→ Vicenza (loan)||18||(4)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23 May 2021|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17 August 2016
Throughout his career, Bojinov has played for sixteen different clubs during his various spells in Italy, as well as in England, Portugal, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, China and Switzerland. At international level, he also played for the Bulgarian national team. His surname is sometimes transliterated as Bozhinov.
Born in Gorna Oryahovitsa, Bulgaria, Bojinov moved to Malta at the age of 12 with his mother Pepa, a former Bulgaria women's national football team player, and stepfather Sasho Angelov, who had played for the Bulgarian national football team during the 1990s.
Bojinov settled in the city of Lecce and continued his studies there while playing for Lecce's youth teams. He debuted in the Italian Serie A on 27 January 2002 at the age of 15 years and 11 months, becoming the youngest foreign player to make an appearance at the top level of Italian football. He scored his first goal in the top division on 6 January 2004 in a 1–2 home defeat against Bologna, becoming the youngest non-national to score in Serie A.
Bojinov was acquired by Fiorentina in January 2005. He made his club debut against Palermo, playing the full match on 2 February 2005. On 26 February 2005, he scored his first goal for Fiorentina, against Udinese. On 8 May 2005, Bojinov scored a winning goal in 79th minute against Chievo at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi in 1–2 away win. During the 2004–05 season, Bojinov has played a total of nine matches, scoring two goals.
On 3 August 2007, it was reported that Bojinov had completed his move to English Premier League club Manchester City, signing a four-year contract in an undisclosed fee deal. On 11 August 2007, he made his debut for the club in a 0–2 away win against West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground, entering as a substitute for Rolando Bianchi in the 60th minute in league play.
Bojinov was ruled out of action for five months after he suffered a knee ligament injury against Manchester United in August 2007. He returned to full training on 22 January 2008, scoring five goals in a bounce game. On 11 February 2008, Bojinov played in a Manchester City reserve game, where he came on as a substitute and scored a header from a cross by Émile Mpenza. Manchester City manager Sven-Göran Eriksson told Bojinov that he would not be ready to play in the game against Everton on 25 February 2008. He did not manage to make a comeback to the first-team squad in the 2007–08 season, but he did make some appearances for the reserve squad and was included in City's tour of Asia.
Bojinov scored his first goal for the club in over a year in a pre-season friendly against Stockport County. He also scored the winning goal in a friendly against Milan on 9 August 2008. On 17 August 2008, Bojinov was ruled out for six months after suffering an Achilles injury as he was running on to the pitch to warm up against Aston Villa.
In mid-February 2009, Manchester City manager Mark Hughes declared that Bojinov was going to play a practice match "behind closed doors", as he was nearing his return to first-team football. He played 65 minutes for the reserves on 17 February 2009. He even scored a penalty against rivals Manchester United in a reserve game while regaining match fitness.
Bojinov made his return to Premier League football by coming on as an 89th-minute substitute against West Ham on 1 March 2009. He then appeared again as a late substitute for Manchester City by entering as an 83rd-minute substitute for Elano against Aston Villa. Bojinov made his first start since 2007 in a 1–0 home win over Sunderland on 22 March 2009, but was substituted in the 65th minute for the return of injured Craig Bellamy. He scored his first league goal in the 2–1 loss against Tottenham Hotspur on 16 May 2009, four minutes after coming on as a substitute for compatriot Martin Petrov in the 61st minute away at White Hart Lane.
It was announced on 29 July 2009 that Bojinov would be joining Italian side Parma on a season-long loan deal. He decided to wear number 86. On 23 September 2009 he scored his first official goal for Parma against Lazio at Stadio Olimpico. He also won a penalty for his team; the match ended in a 1–2 away win. On 24 March 2010, Bojinov scored against Milan in 90th minute in 1–0 home win. During the 2009–10 season, Bojinov played 31 matches in all competitions, scoring eight goals.
On 4 July 2010, it was confirmed that Parma had completed the permanent signing of Bojinov. However, Bojinov endured a difficult season, largely restricted to the bench thanks to a combination of his own sub-par performances; the regular use of just one forward in the team; and regular goals coming from Hernán Crespo and Amauri in the early and late parts of the season, respectively.
On 6 July 2011, Portuguese side Sporting CP signed Bojinov on a five-year contract, paying €2.6million for 80% of his registration rights, which could have risen to €3.5 million depending on his performances. His transfer to Sporting saw Chilean midfielder Jaime Valdés move on loan to Parma as part of the exchange.
During his time with the Lisbon outfit, he was primarily used by coach Domingos Paciência as a substitute. He made his first-team debut on 25 August against Danish side Nordsjælland in a UEFA Europa League play-off tie. He would score for Sporting for the first time on 24 October against Gil Vicente. A brace against the Barcelos side saw Bojinov help his side demolish the opposition 6–1 in a gameweek eight Primeira Liga fixture.
On 20 January 2012, Sporting declared Bojinov persona non-grata, forbidding the player from entering the stadium or the training academy, due to his actions in a Taça da Liga match against Moreirense played the previous day. At 92 minutes, Sporting was conceded a decisive penalty kick that would, if scored, give the team the victory. The regular penalty taker for Sporting, Matías Fernández, prepared to take the shot, but Bojinov took the ball from him, pushing him away and insisting that he would take the shot, despite him having never taken a penalty for Sporting, nor that he had not scored a penalty in an official game since 2006. He failed to score, infuriating the supporters and Sporting's managers, who subsequently banned Bojinov on the basis that he disrespected the decision of the coach and therefore the rules of the club. He then joined his former club Lecce on a loan deal.
Loan spells to Verona and Vicenza
On 31 August 2012, it was announced that Bojinov became an official Verona player, joining on a year-long loan deal. On 17 January 2013, however, he signed with second-division side Vicenza on a separate six-month loan deal. He scored his first goal in his second game for Vicenza against Juve Stabia on 2 February. Bojinov would score again on 26 February, a brace against Grosseto in a 2–1 away win.
On the last day of January 2014, it was confirmed that Bojinov had signed with Bulgarian side Levski Sofia, the first time in his career he would play for a club in his home country. He scored a goal on his unofficial debut on 7 February in a 2–4 loss in a friendly match against Czech side Teplice. Bojinov netted his first goal in an official match on 12 March in a 3–1 win over Botev Plovdiv in a Bulgarian Cup game. On 11 May 2014, Bojinov scored two goals in the 2–3 home loss against champions Ludogorets Razgrad.
In September 2014, Bojinov cancelled his contract with Levski and joined Italian Serie B side Ternana as a free agent on a one-year contract. He made his debut against Bologna on 23 September, playing the full 90 minutes. On 4 November, against Virtus Entella at the Stadio Comunale, Bojinov scored his first goal for Ternana with a 49th-minute equaliser in a 2–1 loss. On 17 January 2015, Bojinov scored a brace in 2–1 home win over Crotone; the second goal was a fantastic 40-meter strike.
On 14 June 2015, Bojinov signed a two-year contract with Serbian team Partizan. Former Partizan player and Bulgarian international Ivan Ivanov recommended Partizan to Bojinov. Bojinov took number 86 on the jersey and said that it was his lucky number and chose to wear it on the jersey. He made his official debut for the club in a second qualifying round UEFA Champions League against Dila Gori on 14 July 2015. In the match, he spent 77 minutes on the field without scoring. On 17 July 2015, against Metalac, Bojinov scored his first goal for Partizan. In that match, he scored one goal and had two assists in a 4–0 home win. On 25 July 2015, Bojinov scored twice against Jagodina in a 6–0 home win.
On 22 October 2015, Bojinov was in the starting XI against Athletic Bilbao in his first time 2015–16 UEFA Europa League group stage. On 13 December 2015, Bojinov entered the game as a substitute for Ivan Šaponjić in the 59th minute and scored a brace against Rad. In the winter of 2016, Partizan declined separate €2 million offers from both Sporting de Gijón and Rayo Vallecano for Bojinov. In January 2016, during an interview, he promised to any teammate who would assist one of his goals that he would give them €500.
In March 2017 he signed with Chinese second level club Meizhou Hakka.
In July 2017, Bojinov signed a two-year contract with Swiss side Lausanne; however, in October, he cancelled his contract with the club.
In February 2018, Bojinov signed for Rijeka in Croatia as a free agent. He was initially signed until June 2018 with an extension option. He made his official debut for the club in the semi-final of the 2017–18 Croatian Football Cup against Dinamo Zagreb on 4 April 2018, coming on as a substitute in the 78th minute. In his league debut against Inter Zaprešić on 8 May 2018, Bojinov came on as a substitute in the 76th minute and within three minutes on the field made an assist for Rijeka's fifth goal. On 5 June 2018, Bojinov's contract was extended for another season. On 20 August 2018, HNK Rijeka and Bojinov mutually agreed to terminate his contract with the club.
Return to Bulgaria
Bojinov played for Levski Sofia during the spring of 2019, scoring the decisive playoff goal against Etar that helped the team qualify for the UEFA Europa League. His time at the "bluemen" was sandwiched between two spells with Botev Vratsa - one in the second half of 2018, during which he established himself as an important player for the club, and a short, disappointing stint in the autumn of 2019.
In February 2020, Bojinov joined Serie B club Pescara. On 23 February 2020, he was sent off before being able to make his debut (while sitting on the substitutes' bench against Crotone) by the match referee for insulting language. He appeared for the first time in an official match on 4 March, after coming on as a second half substitute in the 0–2 away loss against Spezia.
Third spell at Levski Sofia
In September 2020, Bojinov rejoined Levski Sofia for the third time in his career. Although he did not play regularly, he became fan favorite due to his dedication to the club and his leadership qualities. On 21 October 2020, he scored his first goal of the season in his first start since his return against Partizan Cherven Bryag in the Round of 32 of the Bulgarian Cup. On 23 May 2021, he scored the winning goal against Cherno More.
Bojinov made his debut for Bulgaria at UEFA Euro 2004; on 22 June 2004, he came on as a substitute in the 1–2 loss against Italy. He earned his second cap on 19 August 2004 in the 1–1 away draw against the Republic of Ireland in a friendly match during which he also scored his first international goal.
On 17 November 2005, Bojinov scored a goal against Mexico in a friendly match in the United States at NRG Stadium, contributing to a 3–0 win. On 6 September 2006, Bojinov scored his first international goal in a competition match, against Slovenia, in 3–0 home win in UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying. It was also Bulgaria's first goal in the Euro 2008 qualifying.
Style of play
Once considered to be a highly promising prospect in his youth, Bojinov is known for his skill and goalscoring abilities as a striker, and is capable of scoring with either foot, due to his powerful and accurate striking ability, which also enabled him to play alongside another forward as a second striker, or as winger on either flank, as well as in the centre of the pitch; a fast footballer in his prime, he was also known for his speed over short distances, agility, and explosive acceleration, as well as his quick feet, and close control in limited spaces. In spite of his talent, however, he has also garnered a reputation throughout his career for being inconsistent.
Bojinov dated Bulgarian singer Alisia. On 12 September 2007, he became father of a baby son. His son is also named Valeri. He was married to Bulgarian Playboy Playmate Nikoleta Lozanova from 2011 to 2015.
- As of 17 July 2021
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Juventus (loan)||2006–07||Serie B||18||5||3||2||–||–||21||7|
|Manchester City||2007–08||Premier League||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0|
|Parma (loan)||2009–10||Serie A||30||8||1||0||–||0||0||31||8|
|Sporting CP||2011–12||Primeira Liga||8||2||1||0||2||0||5||1||16||3|
|Lecce (loan)||2011–12||Serie A||10||1||0||0||–||–||10||1|
|Verona (loan)||2012–13||Serie B||13||1||2||0||–||–||15||1|
|Levski Sofia||2013–14||A Group||14||6||1||1||–||0||0||15||7|
|Meizhou Hakka||2017||China League One||13||3||0||0||–||–||13||3|
|Lausanne||2017–18||Swiss Super League||7||0||2||1||–||–||9||1|
|Botev Vratsa||2018–19||Bulgarian First League||11||7||1||0||–||–||12||7|
|Levski Sofia||2020–21||Bulgarian First League||10||1||1||1||–||–||11||2|
|1||19 August 2004||Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Republic of Ireland||Republic of Ireland||1–1||1–1||Friendly|
|2||17 November 2005||Reliant Stadium, Houston, United States||Mexico||2–0||3–0||Friendly|
|3||6 September 2006||Vasil Levski, Sofia, Bulgaria||Slovenia||1–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying|
|4||18 November 2009||Hibernians Ground, Paola, Malta||Malta||1–0||4–1||Friendly|
|5||24 May 2010||Orlando Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa||South Africa||1–1||1–1||Friendly|
|6||29 February 2012||ETO Park, Győr, Hungary||Hungary||1–1||1–1||Friendly|
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