Between the Lines

"Of all unimportant subjects, football is the most important" – Pope John Paul II

Do United’s starlets really exist?

Posted by hakanrylander on January 16, 2009

An intriguing story in The Guardian reveals that the 16-year-old Moldavian prodigy Masal Bugduv doesn’t exist. It appears that the player has been created out of nothing by a number of bloggers using e.g. Wikipedia and fake Associated Press-stories. What makes it all the more remarkable is that, while not existing, Bugduv still managed to be ranked 30th on The Times’ list of the hottest young football talents in the world. His name has since been removed from the list, for obvious reasons. But even without Bugduv the list is a rather strange hotchpotch, mixing unknown English teenagers with established stars like Karim Benzema and David Silva.

The non-existence of the Moldavian superstar-to-be raises a couple of important questions. The first is how much you can rely on information in a blog. The second, and perhaps even more important, is how many of United’s own prodigies that really exist?

I’ve seen photos of Adem Ljajic alongside Sir Alex, but let’s face it, Photoshop can be a devious tool. A thorough search of the Internet gave no indication as to the existence of United target Jack Sampson. And newest recruit Ritchie de Laet is supposed to have spent a year and a half at Stoke City, but hasn’t been seen anywhere near the first team.

For final proof of the existence or non-existence of these and other young stars we might have to rely on Descartes. Meanwhile, I’m just waiting for City to lodge a “massive” bid for Bugduv.

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7 Responses to “Do United’s starlets really exist?”

  1. But what would be the point of creating fake prodigies? To give out the perception of an abundance of young home-grown soon-to-be-stars?

  2. The Gaffer said

    Wow, top article!

  3. hakanrylander said

    Ulrik Fredrik:
    The creators of Masal Bugduv probably only wanted to see if they could fool a number of bloggers like you and me. I don’t think they ever imagined that he would make it to The Times’ top 50.
    United’s motives are more obscure. It would be truly amazing if it turns out that Sir Alex has personally photoshopped a picture just to give the impression that he’s met Adem Ljalic. And remember that Tosic has even been given a squad number!

  4. bra blogg håkan! synd bara att jag inte är så intresserad av manchester united.. jag har också en blogg här på wordpress: annaelidadebora.wordpress.com

  5. hakanrylander said

    Cheers, Anna, and thanks! If you keep visiting this blog you might develop into a hardcore United supporter. Or maybe just get totally fed up, cause I have to admit that I tend to focus quite a lot on United. Hope to see you soon in real life!

  6. […] convinced that this is a good sign since the same list ranked non-existing Moldavian superstar Masal Bugduv as No […]

  7. […] the past Between the Lines has occasionally poked fun at the signing of Ritchie de Laet, and even questioned his very existence, mainly because his record seemed close to non-existent or at least not anywhere near […]

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