Norwegian third-division side, IK Junkeren have signed Lionel Messi – a 16-year-old footballer – who changed his name to that of the Barcelona superstar.
Lionel Messi, previously known as Daniel Are Knutsen, made the bold decision to name himself after the Argentina captain and had the name change quickly approved.
“I’ve had a plan for a while to change my name and I have Lionel Messi as my biggest idol. With my dedication to football, it made sense to try,” the Norwegian Messi told VG.
“I want to say that I try my best to play like him. Some similarities are certainly possible to see, but the talent is probably not as great.
“I have quite similar ball control and some speed.
“Those who know me from before still use the old first name, while new ones might call me Lionel or Leo.”
The 16-year-old Messi will start off playing for Junkeren’s G16 side, not their first-team.
Messi is still undoubtedly Junkeren’s most eye-catching signing and they aren’t ready to stop there.
“I joked earlier that we have to look for Cristiano Ronaldo now,” Junkeren general manager, Runar Bo Eriksen, said.
“We know that there is a Ronaldo in the transfer market who has previously played at Fauske/Sprint, so we know he is out there.”