When The Times picked Masal Bugduv, a 16-year-old Moldovan, as number 30 in their 50 best young footballers list, there was one problem.
He doesn’t exist.
The Times said Bugduv was an ‘attacker (who) has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal, work permit permitting. And he’s been linked with plenty of other top clubs as well.”
But Eastern European bloggers pointed out Bugduv doesn’t exist, before a contributor to soccerlens.com unravelled the web-fuelled mass of lies, apparently started on Wikipedia.
The Times weren’t the only ones to be duped – When Saturday Comes, the monthly football magazine, and a string of football websites also fell for the Bugduv tale.
Bugduv has since been replaced at number 30 by Jay Simpson, an Arsenal striker currently starring on loan for West Bromwich Albion.