IK Junkeren, a third division Norwegian team just added a superstar name to its roster. Since last Thursday, Lionel Messi is officially signed to the team. If you think you heard it wrong, you didn’t. The thing is, it’s not the Lionel Messi you are probably thinking about.
The player who will be joining IK Junkeren is a 16-year-old Norwegian who had recently had his name changed to the name of his idol. Norway allows children over 16 to legally change their name without needing consent from their parents. “I’ve had a plan for a while to change my name, so I have Lionel Messi as my biggest idol. With my dedication to football, it was nothing more than to try,” - the player, born Daniel Are Knutsen, told the press. The name change didn’t just happen on the paper either. People now constantly refer to the player as Lionel or Leo, for short.
The younger Messi doesn’t only emulate his idol with the name. He also models his playing and strategy after the football legend. In particular, he focuses on speed and agility. His current goal is to make it to the Junkeren’s first team. Junkeren itself is in the third tier and has been so since 2010 when it won the fourth division. It’s interesting to see what the superstar name alone can do for the team. Norwegians love to follow soccer and a gimmick like this might be enough to attract their attention to the lesser-known team.
The addition of Lionel Messi to their team might turn out well for the popularity and recognizability of the team. So much so that to lead to another famous name on the roster. “I joked earlier that we have to look for Cristiano Ronaldo. We know that there is a Ronaldo in the transition market who has previously played at Fauske/Sprint, so we know he is out there,” - commented the general manager of Junkeren - Runar Bo Eriksen. The sports betting sites in Norway are going to revel in this news as well. Norwegians already love betting on sports and with the competition on the market that makes betting sites offer appealing sign-up bonuses and other promotions, any sort of new attention is great for business.
For the fans of the Lionel Messi we all know, there is no need to worry. He doesn’t have any plans for moving to Norway as far as we know. In fact, he will soon make his debut with Barcelona after recuperating from the calf injury.