Little Nicholas of football

Gregoire Akcelrod posed as a PSG affiliate player and signed with CSKA Sofia in 2009, the season in which they played in the Champions League.


The name of Gregoire Akcelrod never sounded loud in the world of football. However, the former French footballer deceived everyone by posing as a PSG subsidiary player and even signed for CSKA Sofia in the season in which they played in the Champions League. Akcelrod's football career is based on lies, falsified resumes and evidence in which he was rejected.

Akcelrod, like any child, dreamed of being a professional footballer. However, the French did not have the qualities to excel in the beautiful game. The former player, born in Paris, recounted his beginnings in Sportsmail: "I played my first game in front of my father at 10 years old. It was like the final of the Champions League for me. We played against a good team and lost 4-0. As we drove back he said, 'Greg, I'm very upset. You're so mean and so lazy. I don't want to see you on a soccer field anymore.' I was surprised. Being with my friends on the soccer field was the best time of my week ".

His father's prohibition against playing lasted eight years. As he came of age, he hoped to become a professional and teach his father that he was wrong. To do this, Akcelrod created a fake website in which he claimed to play for the PSG subsidiary team. His deception reached such a point that he copied the chronicles of L'Èquipe and put his name in place of the star of the team. The Frenchman was lying when he said that he played in the Parisian team's subsidiary when in reality the category in which he was active was amateur, the last category and that he himself qualifies as "the worst in France" .

Akcelrod's family sidelined him by prioritizing soccer over school. At the age of 19, he made a living by working at a McDonald's and went to live in a studio. Such was his obsession with football that he snuck into the Parque de los Príncipes to take photos with the PSG kit. That's when the cascade of deceptions came. Akcelrod sent his resume to Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal. All three teams turned him down, however he was lucky with Swindon Town who called him in for a test in 2003. The first of two he had with the Robins. The Frenchman summed up his test: "The first day I was so bad physically and tactically that I was lost. In the training match, the goalkeeper threw a long ball, I tried to head it but it hit me square in the face. Everyone laughed. ".

The then aspiring footballer did not pass the second test. Something that did not prevent him from appearing in a training match with the rest of the players before his followers. His insistence was present to the point that Andy King, Swindon coach, gave him his second chance by playing 20 minutes in a training match without being offered a contract afterwards.

Akcelrod tried his luck at Bournemouth, taking advantage of the bad economic situation of the cherries. He made the 2007 preseason and scored in a friendly. Swindon knocked on his door again in that preseason and the Frenchman made his mark with two goals in a friendly. A new setback stopped him. Paul Sturrock, the new coach on the Count Ground bench, insisted on denying him a contract despite the insistence of the fans. Those two goals did not open the door for Swindon, but they did open the door for Norwich who saw him on Sky Sports. His stay lasted until he played a bad game with the subsidiary.

The Frenchman had proposals from professional clubs in Luxembourg considering them "small" for him. His moment of glory came in the summer of 2009. CSKA Sofia summoned him for training, believing he was a PSG subsidiary player, and presented him with a three-year contract with a salary of 208,000 euros per season until it was discovered his deception ... A fan of the Bulgarian team asked about him on a PSG forum. On the Internet he realized that none of the followers of the Parisian club knew the footballer and all the lies he collected on his website were uncovered. All except the video of the two goals with Swindon. The CSKA fan made the press aware of the fraud once he had already signed the contract and his signing had been announced. One day after the news broke, when Akcelrod went to breakfast, no one from the club wanted to hear from him and they asked him to return to France. That season, CSKA Sofia played in the Champions League, so had it not been for a curious supporter, they would have had the chance to play in the top continental competition.

Akcelrod recalled those days: "I did the two-day test and on Sunday the coach told my agent that he wanted to sign me. They took pictures of me with the official CKSA jersey, I signed the contract and published on the CSKA website that I signed" .

The Parisian soccer player tried to pass the tests in teams from Greece, Kuwait and Canada where he played a season with the Mississauga Eagles. His life at 38 years old is still linked to football. Akcelrod is the representative of young footballers whom he tries to help enter the quarries without deception. In addition, he has published his autobiography "Pro At All Costs" ("Professional at all costs") in which he narrates his career and provides advice to young people.

Akcelrod does not consider that he deceived the clubs he passed through: "I never stole a penny from the clubs. I always paid for my hotel and my flights. The clubs lost a little time, but sometimes it is like that. In France, we are a country who only judges people by their resume. I realized that although I was good at the test, they didn't give me a professional contract. I wanted to show that a resume is not necessary. "

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