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Lionel Messi signs for Norwegian club IK Junkeren

Lionel Messi, Barcelona
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Third-division side IK Junkeren have announced the signing of a 16-year-old Lionel Messi, who recently changed his name to that of the Barcelona captain.

The teenage attacker, formerly known as Daniel Are Knutsen, is a huge Messi fan and has always idolised him. Therefore, “it made sense” for the youngster to have the same name as the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Carrying the Messi name, however, will come at a big price as fans will probably compare him to the Argentine.

But it seems the Norwegian is unfazed by this prospect despite conceding his talents aren’t on the same level as the original Messi. Although he does think they share some similar traits.

“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 new Messi told Norwegian paper 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 a 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.”

Meanwhile, IK Junkeren manager Runar Bo Eriksen joked that they are now looking for a “Cristiano Ronaldo” in Norway to partner their Messi.

“I joked earlier that we have to look for Cristiano Ronaldo now,” said Eriksen.

“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.”

Unfortunately, for the Norwegian Messi, he will instead play in IK Junkeren’s U-16 team instead of the senior one for this season.

IK Junkeren have played in Norway’s third tier division since winning promotion back in 2010.

The original Messi, on the other hand, has been cleared to face Real Betis for Barcelona’s second game of the new La Liga season after recovering from a calf strain.

Without their star man leading the attack, Ernesto Valverde’s side lost 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao during last week’s season opener.