A fake footballer has told the story of how he convinced a Champions League club to offer him a £15,000 per week contract.
Frenchman Gregoire Akcelrod sent out a fake CV and created a website filled with made-up match reports in a bid to fall some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Akcelrod also utilised the fact that he played for Paris Saint-Germain’s amateur side – a level of football he describes as the ‘worst in France’ – to fool other teams.
And after receiving trial offers from Norwich, Bournemouth, and Swindon, he eventually attracted the attention of Champions League side CSKA Sofia.
With the Bulgarian club believing he was a PSG reserve team player, a deal looked set to go through before it was scuppered in the final stages when some discrepancies were detected by fans.
Speaking to The Mail, he said: “I did the two day trial and on the Sunday the coach told my agent that he wanted to sign me.
‘They took photos of my in the CKSA official jersey, I signed the contract, they published on the CSKA website that I was signing.
“But it was the PSG fans who destroyed me. Overnight, one CSKA Sofia fan contacted a PSG online forum and asked, “We are about to sign Greg Akcelrod, what do you think about him?
“All the PSG fans didn’t know me. They said I was fake, they checked my website. But some of it was true, the video at Swindon for example.
“The CSKA fan contacted every journalist in Sofia and it was revealed the club were going to sign a fake player.”
After the secret was out, Akcelrod was told to head back to France, but that did not stop him pursuing a career in football.
He went on to play in Greece and Kuwait, as well as for top tier Canadian team Mississauga Eagles.
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Akcelrod is not the first prankster to fool a top football club.
The most famous example is Ali Dia back in the 1990s, who fooled Southampton and manager Graeme Souness into agreeing a one-month deal.
Dia signed for the Saints in 1996 after Souness was contacted by someone claiming to be World Player of the Year George Weah.
He recommended that Southampton sign his ‘cousin’ Dia, who had allegedly played and scored for PSG and Senegal.
Dia featured in one five-a-side trial and the next day faced Leeds United in a 2-0 defeat.
He never made a second appearance for Southampton.
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