Manchester United sign Spanish player who doesn't actually exist

Manchester United's new goalkeeper.


You can say what you like about Manchester United's transfer policy since the Glazer family took over the club but at least they've been signing players who actually exist. Last night some pranksters invented an 18 year old goalkeeper called Rodrigo Alvarez and announced he'd signed for Manchester United.

A couple of Twitter accounts plus the cunning use of Spanish and the news really took off with people wishing him good luck and others sending him gushing praise. That's all humourous but what always sets these events apart as particulary funny is when media outlets fall for it.

Step forward the excellent 101 Great Goals, and their report on the signing:

Following in the footsteps of David De Gea a year ago, reports in Spain this evening claim Manchester United have snapped up another goal keeper from Atletico Madrid – Rodrigo Alvarez.

The 18-year-old custodian has impressed for the Atletico Madrid and Spanish youth sides.

News of his signing has floated around Spain since mid-June but only been picked up by Manchester United bloggers in the past few hours so expect it to appear in the English press on Thursday.

But none of that was true and it appeared to be a well executed wind-up, so well executed in fact that the player had a Wikipedia page confirming the move. Reports had even been planted in Spanish on social networks in Spain, hence the comment in the extract above. 

101 Great Goals weren't the only ones to fall for it, ESPN seems to have a knack of being taken in by absolutely everything. From fake Korean journalists and quotes about Kagawa to fabricated Eden Hazard news and they weren't going to let down here.

But the whole story has since been confirmed as fake by Steve Bartram who works for the club's media department, he said "Despite press reports (and the Twitter grapevine), I'm assured by folk at Carrington that there is no Rodrigo Alvarez on #MUFC's books. That's from conversations with goalkeeping coaches and secretarial staff, by the way. This has been a productive week for Twitter fraudsters."

There is a young Spanish player with a similar name, perhaps by coincidence or even through design, but Manchester United have no young goalkeeper called Rodrigo Alavrez. 

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