Man United scourge Roony Bardghji, 17, is known as the 'Swedish Messi'

Remember the name! Kuwait-born Copenhagen wonderkid Roony Bardghji, 17, is known as the ‘Swedish Messi’, is being watched closely by Europe’s elite and has left Man United’s Champions League hopes in tatters

  • Bardghji’s late winner left Manchester United staring at European elimination
  • Teenage Copenhagen midfielder is well known to Football Manager obsessives 
  • Man Utd are NOT good enough to have a ball-playing keeper – It’s All Coming Up 

Remember the name? How could Manchester United forget?

A name like Rooney is usually reason for fond recollection at Old Trafford, but 17-year-old Roony Bardghji was their scourge on Wednesday night.

His dramatic late goal sealed Copenhagen a dramatic 4-3 victory that left United’s Champions League hopes dangling by a thread.

On a rollercoaster night at the Parken Stadium, Erik ten Hag’s side dropped from second spot in Group A in the 82nd minute to rock bottom in the 87th.

Bardghji’s well-taken strike, hit into the ground to bounce past Andre Onana, propelled the teenager known as the ‘Swedish Messi’ into the wider consciousness.

Copenhagen’s 17-year-old wonderkid Roony Bardghji celebrates his dramatic late winning goal as the Danish club beat Manchester United 4-3 in the Champions League on Wednesday

The youngster is congratulated by keeper Kamil Grabara after his late heroics on Wednesday

His goal boosted Copenhagen’s chances of making it into the Champions League last-16 – but Manchester United’s qualifying hopes are now dangling by a thread

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Football Manager obsessives always knew Bardghji as a wonderkid worth signing and Copenhagen fans were aware of his talent – but now all of Europe knows.

Born in Kuwait City to a Syrian family, the boy known almost always as just Roony moved to Sweden as a child.

He played for a number of youth sides there, including in the academy of Malmo before crossing the Oresund Bridge to sign for Copenhagen’s academy in 2020.

A mere 16 years and six days old when handed his senior debut against AGF in November 2021, he became the club’s youngest-ever player.

When he lashed a 25-yard shot into the bottom corner against Aalborg a week later – becoming the youngest scorer in Danish top-flight history – quite a few ears pricked up across Europe.

Chelsea, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Ajax were among those heavyweights who sent scouts to Copenhagen to watch the young star.

They would have been impressed by Roony’s ability to play off either flank and dribble infield in an echo of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi.

His coach at under-17 level for Sweden told newspaper Sportexpressen: ‘He has an understanding of the game, as well as good balance and coordination, which means that he has exceptional technique with the ball at this feet. It’s incredibly difficult to take the ball off him.

United may have wished they had someone like Wayne Rooney to save them on Wednesday

Instead they slumped to a third defeat in their opening four Champions League group games

‘He is good one-on-one and has a good shot. He can shoot with both feet, even if he is basically left-footed, he can finish with the right as well.

‘That makes him very difficult to read for the defenders. Will he go right or left? It makes him difficult to handle.’

In the same way Roony has been fast-tracked through at Copenhagen, he jumped from half-a-dozen appearances – and five goals – for Sweden’s Under 17s straight up to the U21s last year.

He now has 15 goals in 57 appearances for the Danish club and has helped them to consecutive league titles and a cup success.

Ten of those goals have come this season and Copenhagen will be braced for transfer interest in a player whose present contract runs until 2025.

Roony’s shot was stuck down into the ground before bouncing beyond keeper Andre Onana

By the sounds of it, Roony himself won’t be fazed if big clubs come in for him.

He told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet a year ago: ‘My goal is to become the best footballer in then world. I’ve had that dream since I was a kid and nothing can stop me except myself.

‘I want to end up at Real Madrid and I want to play there for many years.’

His winner gave Copenhagen a great chance of making the Champions League last-16 and their fans inside the Parken taunted United with chants of ‘Roony, Roony, Roony.’

Unfortunately for United, they don’t have his namesake to rescue them any more.


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