Meet The Fake Footballer Who Almost Duped Champions League Club Into Signing Him
Move over Ali Dia, Gregoire Akcelrod is the ultimate fake footballer.
While Dia was infamously able to convince Graeme Souness and Southampton that he was George Weah's Cousin, Akcelrod went to extreme lengths to try and forge a career after his father banned him from playing football between the ages of 10 and 18 because he was so bad.
His legitimate highest ceiling was playing for Paris Saint-Germain's amateur side in the fifth tier of French football - said to be "France's worst amateur league" - but he twisted the truth in incredible fashion.
Having had a brainwave at school, he set up a fake website where it stated that he played for PSG's reserve side - and he even copied match reports from newspapers but slotted his name in instead of Nicolas Anelka's.
There were also pictures of him on the Parc des Princes pitch in PSG colours after sneaking on, with a bogus CV also adding to the illusion.
But Swindon Town, Norwich City, Bournemouth and Scottish sides Falkirk and Dundee United did offer him trials.
In 2009, after rejecting a move to a side in Luxembourg, he was on course for his biggest blag when Bulgarian side and Champions League qualifiers CSKA Sofia offered him a three-year contract worth £15,000 per month.
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He would have got away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids/PSG supporters.
He told the Daily Mail: "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."
The following morning, the conman was told to pack his bags.
Akcelrod did sneak an appearance on Sky Sports News when he scored in a friendly game with Swindon and travelled to Greece, Kuwait and Canada - turning out for Mississauga Eagles in the top tier for a season.
Incredibly, he now works an agent offering advice to young players and has even written an autobiography titled 'Pro At All Costs'.
All things considered, he's not done too badly.
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