Now this is going a bit too far

by Jim Hague

Here’s a story that I legitimately read off the Associated Press wire about 45 minutes ago. I kid you not. It’s for real

MADRID — Real Madrid has signed a 7-year-old football prospect from Argentina, who also happens to go by the name Leo — just like his idol Lionel Messi.

Leonel Angel Coira signed with the Spanish club and will begin training on Sept. 6, Madrid spokesman Juan Tapiador told The Associated Press today.

Last week, Coira told Argentine sports daily Ole that his idol was Messi, the Barcelona forward who is also Argentine and goes by the name Leo. Coira said he prefers “to provide the pass” rather than score.

He already has a Facebook page featuring photos of his visit to Real Madrid.

Madrid reportedly made the push to sign Coira because Spanish league rival Atletico Madrid was also pursuing the youngster.

Barcelona signed Messi from Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys as a teenager and he has gone on to win the World Player of the Year award two times and has helped Barcelona win 15 trophies, including three Champions League titles and five Spanish league championships.

WAIT A MINUTE HERE!!! The kid is SEVEN!!!!

He signed a pro contract at age seven? Shit, even that kid from Gary, Indiana who ended up wearing one studded glove didn’t have a contract at seven — and he was singing and dancing with his four brothers!!!

Are you kidding me? Is this what we’ve become in sports? Signing seven-year-olds to pro contracts? The kid should be playing with his Tinkertoys and coloring books, not playing pro soccer with adults. I don’t care if he’s more brilliant than Pele, it’s way wrong.

I thought it was ridiculous when college coaches were offering scholarships to grammar school kids, but this one takes the cake. He’s seven, for God’s sake. How did he sign the contract? In block letters? No cursive learned yet, but then again, some school districts have stopped teaching penmanship, just like they’ve banned chocolate milk.

Just when you think you have heard it all.

Remember the uproar when D.C. United signed Freddy Adu when he was 13. Well, Freddy was a regular old-timer compared to the wonderful seven-year-old Leo.

And he wants to be known as Leo. Just Leo.

It’s not as catchy as my favorite soccer player, Fred. He’s just Fred. No need for a surname. Fred. It’s great to see that name on a soccer roster sheet. I’m the president of the Fred Fan Club. Hey, my middle name is Fred. Go Fred.

But signing this 7-year-old is clearly the most bizarre story I’ve read in a long, long time.

When it comes to being a Met fan, it’s not called Murphy’s Law for nothing.

You know, whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Good old Irishman Murphy had that stamped and sealed for the Mets when he came up with that law.

It’s very fitting now, especially since the law applies directly to a Murphy, and we’re not talking about the late announcer Bob and his cumulus clouds.

Nope, infielder Daniel, who was having a marvelous season, blew out his knee again playing second base, just like he did last year in the minor leagues.

Only this time, Murphy was No. 5 in the National League in hitting with an astounding .320 average. Only four Mets in team history ever batted higher than .320 in a season. He was on his way to a stellar season and then that Irish curse — no, not that one — had to come along and rear its ugly head.

Seriously, I have never seen a team more snakebitten and cursed than the Mets. Not because they’re obviously my favorite team, but they get injured more than miners get lost in the coal mines. It’s unreal how many players have been hurt over the last three years.

And then they don’t heal. Ike Davis looked like he turned his ankle and he’s missing the whole season. When he got hurt last year, Johan Santana vowed he’ll be back before the All-Star break and he’s still not back and won’t be this season. In the past, look how long it took for Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes to come back. Wait a minute. Reyes is hurt again????

Murphy’s Law definitely applies to the Mets and now it directly applies to a Met named Murphy. Go figure.


In closing, let’s all say a prayer today for New Haven Register sports columnist Dave Solomon, who was tragically killed in a car accident over the weekend.

Dave was returning home after doing one of the many things he loved doing — covering his beloved UConn Huskies in a football practice. No one loved doing his job more than Dave, covering the Giants, covering New York baseball, covering college sports. And he was always very helpful and had a great sense of humor, livening up every press room he walked into.

I’ll miss seeing Dave at sporting events, because he always made me laugh and feel better about doing what I do, because he loved doing it so much. It’s a huge loss for our industry and another in a litany of losses the sportswriting world has suffered recently.

You can read more of my work at, and


Posted on August 24, 2011, in Jim Hague and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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