Yeah, you read that headline right. This is a weird one.
According to a report by Swedish paper Aftonbladet, a 24-year-old Swedish man was partially successful in conning a few teams in Europe into signing him. Dinamo Zagreb and Crotone were fooled into giving Alieu Darbo a contract, despite him not actually being any good. Eventually both teams saw him play, recognized he was a fraud, and released him.
But this guy was determined to keep his hoax going with other clubs, and at one point he even got Dortmund involved.
Here’s an English summary of the article, provided by our good friend /u/IvanovicsBum on /r/soccer.
Alieu Darbo impressed Le Mans during a youth cup. Left to try and play in england, claims that Wigan tried to sign him but that he got injured. Wigan deny that they had anything to do with him at all.
Used photos of himself in a Wigan jersey to get signed by Dinamo Zagreb, parts way with Dinamo about 5 months later and allegedly Dinamo paid him to keep quiet about conning them for a contract (not verified).
Signs with Crotone, but the contract gets cancelled the day after and he calls a Swedish agent that he had met earlier and claims that he had been the victim of a racist attack. Convinces the agent that Dortmund wanted PAOK to sign him without having a training session with him and that they (Dortmund) would pay his wages during his time at PAOK and then later buy him. They seem to agree to a deal but then PAOK calls the agent and asks why they can't get a hold of anyone at Dortmund. The agent tells that to Darbo and shortly after that PAOK get an e-mail from "Dortmund" containing information that only people present at the negotiation between Darbo, the agent and PAOK would know.
So yeah this is something that actually happened. It sounds like a movie script.
The good news is that we can laugh at this story and know that Dortmund weren’t fooled. PAOK, on the other hand, were lucky that they didn’t fall for this con-artist’s tricks. The Greek club reportedly believed that this deal with BVB existed, without even speaking to anyone at BVB!
PAOK really should have known better. The Wikipedia page for the “footballer” in question says he’s a winger, we’ve got plenty of those!