Lionel Messi has appeared in Norway’s third division after signing for IK Junkeren.
It’s not what you think. A 16-year-old footballer has changed his name to that of the Barcelona and Argentina icon.
Daniel Are Knutsen is keen to follow in the footsteps of his idol and hopes the name change will help to see him carry that through.
“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 (h/t Goal) .
“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 attacker will start out with Junkeren’s G16 side as he begins the long road to mirroring his hero, but the Norwegian club are keen to add Messi’s rival to the mix.
“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.”
Barcelona‘s new-signing Junior Firpo has had a lot of explaining to do regarding some of his old tweets against Argentine forward Lionel Messi.
The Real Betis academy graduate admitted to saying offensive things about Messi when he was 15 years old but believes that it is now in the past.
Firpo then claimed that he could “probably break both of Lionel Messi’s legs” with “one kick” and called the Argentine a “son of a bi**h” among other things.
“I see him every day in the changing room,” Firpo told SPORT .
“I know you’re asking this because of the old tweets I made but that’s in the past and we’ve squashed that. It isn’t something I want to make a bigger deal out of.
“I don’t think he even knew. I was a kid who came through the academy at Betis and I don’t think Messi is going to care about that.”
The left-back is confident that the past doesn’t matter now and he will be apologising to the Barcelona star.
“It’s something that doesn’t matter and that I can explain without problem,” Firpo told Mundo Deportivo .
“They are things that are done at 15 when nobody knows you and when you cannot think that this will have an impact years later.
“I have to apologise and I do it humbly and without problems.”
Brazil legend Rivaldo claimed that the presence of Lionel Messi in a team makes it harder for other players to reach their potential.
The former Barcelona man made the comment in regard to the departure of countryman Philippe Coutinho to Bayern Munich after a woeful stint in Spain.
Rivaldo believes Messi likes to take up responsibility and credit and this prevented Coutinho from asserting himself.
“I always believed that Philippe Coutinho had the ability to succeed at Barcelona, but things were taking too much time and both parties agreed on a transfer to Bayern Munich,” he told Betfair.
“I’m a little disappointed about his failure in gaining a regular place in the first team, but perhaps he was no longer confident about it and unhappy, so he opted for a move to another big club trying to finally recover his best football from his time at Liverpool.
“It’s never easy to find your space in a team where Lionel Messi constantly takes all the credit and responsibility. There are few players in the world capable of reaching such a situation and imposing themselves, and maybe Coutinho didn’t have enough patience to find his spot in the team.
“The Argentinian star is the team leader and will keep playing at his best level for about three or four more years, so it is difficult to see other players shining at their best at Barcelona.”