He’s not a real footballer but… he almost manages to make his Champions League debut. It is Gregoire Akcelrod, who has the merit of passing himself off as a professional in a decidedly very credible way.
Most boys and in recent years also many girls dream of becoming professional footballers. Time passes and some manage to make it through talent and commitment but most are forced to veer towards other careers. Then there are those who don’t give up and… almost manage to make their debut in the Champions League even without any kind of sporting talent. It is the story of Gregoire Akcelrod, who has the merit of having passed himself off as a footballer in a very credible way.
Born in Paris, Akcelrod told his story some time ago at Daily Mail: “I played my first game in front of my father when I was 10. After the game he said to me: ‘Greg, I’m really shocked, you’re terrible, lazy. I don’t want to see you on a football field anymore’. I was in shock.” At 18 he was practically banned from football for lack of talent but he didn’t give up: he created a fake site in which he presented himself as a player of the second team of PSG. A half lie, since he had managed to get into the amateur team actually called … PSG in the bottom division of French football. Even the family turns its back on him as the boy insisted on football instead of an education and career.
At 19, he lives in a one-room apartment and works at a fast food restaurant. But it didn’t last: she broke into the Parc des Princes and had herself immortalized in the PSG shirt to take pictures to be included on her resume and website, the details of which would be sent to many English clubs. He was obviously rejected by Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal but Swindon Town, in 2003, granted him a tryout. Failed on the first day due to the inability to finish a header without taking a ball in the face. But Bournemouth also gave him a chance and even scored a friendly goal with them. He returns to Swindon where he scores 2 friendly goals but that’s not enough. Then two offers arrive from two Luxembourg clubs, incredibly rejected by the player because they were clubs “too small for him”. But in 2009 he applied to CSKA Sofia, a club qualified for the Champions League.
Without tryouts, convinced by the site and CV, CSKA makes him sign a three-year contract for around €17,000 a month. “They photographed me in the CSKA shirt, I signed the contract and they published the news on their website. The PSG fans didn’t know me, they said I wasn’t a real player: they checked my website. They contacted journalists from Sofia and they said the club was hiring a fake player.” But whoever lasts, wins: now, at 40, Gregoire has an effective career in football as an agent for young players. And from a certain point of view it is impeccable: who better than him would be able to advise how to get involved in a team? The manual is available in bookstores: ‘Pro At All Costs’ “professional at all costs”, his autobiography where he explains the secret of success. Of him, inexplicable, at least.
January 15, 2023 (change January 15, 2023 | 14:01)
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