Barcelona sign nine-year-old Swedish wonderkid
Barcelona have snapped up one of the hottest prospects in Swedish football despite the fact that he is only nine.
The Catalan giants have signed Zico Jr Marecaldi from Swedish fifth division club BK Olympic after he impressed during a Barcelona recruitment camp.
Zico Jr may have the name of a Brazilian legend but he says that Barca's Argentine star Lionel Messi is his true hero.
The youngster has already been followed by the Swedish press such is his early promise.
"It's going to be cool," Zico Jr. told Swedish daily Skaanska Dagblade.
Swedish rules state that a club cannot hold a full registration of a player until they are 12-years-old so BK Olympic will not receive any compensation for Zico.
However, they are still happy the transfer is going through.
"This is great PR for BK Olympic and a great chance for Zico," said Leif Isie who helps coach the BK youngsters.
Zico's father Antonio is also a coach at the club. He said Zico would first be sent to boarding school in Barcelona before the entire family moves to Spain in a few months.
"Zico was obviously very happy (when Barcelona said they wanted him), but his first reaction when he found out that he would be staying at the boarding school was that he cried and said he did not want to leave me," explained Antonio.
"But 20 minutes later, he had already decided it was a good idea. Otherwise we would have called off the whole thing."
Before his final match for BK, the club printed up a shirt with his name on the back. Zico scored a goal and the team won before celebrating the victory by eating cake in the clubhouse.