Do not rub your eyes. Norwegian third tier side IK Junkeren have only gone and pulled off the signing of Lionel Messi this week.
The 16-year-old, formerly known as Daniel Are Knutsen, decided to change his name in honour of Barcelona’s famous number ten.
“I’ve had a plan to change my name for a while,” he told Norwegian newspaper VG.
“Lionel Messi is my biggest idol and with my dedication to football, it was nothing more than to try.”
The young Messi admits that his talent is nowhere near the standard of Argentina’s little magician, but he does try and replicate his hero on the pitch.
“I want to say that I try as best as I can to play his way.” he said. “It’s possible to see some similarities, but my talent probably isn’t as great.”
IK Junkeren manager Runar Bo Eriksen joked that the club did originally look at Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo, but Messi was the eventual choice.
“I joked earlier that we have to look for Cristiano Ronaldo. [Messi] is going to play under-16 football first and foremost, but we hope he will eventually join the first team.”
Earlier this year, Spurs fan David Lind was left ‘disappointed’ after authorities denied him the right to change his birth name to Tottenham
The 39-year-old decided to send an application to have his name changed following the club’s Champions League run last season but a few weeks later, his initial request was denied by government agency Skatteverket.
Image: Nerikes Allehanda/The Guardian
Lind, who is from Kumla in Sweden, has revealed his dismay at the decision in an interview with newspaper Nerikes Allehanda.
“This is very sad. It looks as if you can be called pretty much everything in Sweden but not Tottenham.” he said.
“It is not any more natural to be called Newcastle, Arsenal, Liverpool or Guiseley.
“There are a lot of people with strange names in Sweden. There is even someone called Potato. Maybe someone at Skatteverket is an Arsenal fan?”