Malappuram: Mishal Aboulais, the 13-year-old football prodigy from Malappuram who became an internet sensation after releasing a series of videos emulating the signature styles of world's top footballers, has been roped in by Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Kerala Blasters as their Young Brand Ambassador.
He was chosen as the brand ambassador for the club's grassroots football development programmes for students in Kerala, the franchise announced on social media on Saturday. The teenager will be given a football kit in recognition of his skills. He is also entitled to attend the club's training sessions and interact with senior players. Other perks include free passes to watch the club's matches.
A seventh standard student of Kattumunda Government UP School, near Nilambur, Mishal took the internet by storm with a video released in May where he was seen acing a perfect free-kick in the style of legendary Argentine footballer Lionel Messi. The video was first shared on the Facebook page of All Kerala Sevens Football Association. In no time, it went viral on social media as well as digital platforms and Mishal's talent earned praise from football stars from across the world including Angel di Maria, Carles Puyol and Rio Ferdinand.
The 24-second-long footage was later published by several international media houses including ESPN and gained hundreds of thousands of views and likes.
The videos that he later uploaded to his Instagram account where he perfectly copied star footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar with their full strips had also gone viral. The internet was abuzz with reactions when Neymar himself liked Mishal's Instagram video.
Mishal's elder brother Wajid is his biggest source of inspiration. It was Wajid, a member of Mampad MES College football team, who captured Mishal demonstrating his great mastery of the ball and shared the videos on social media.
Mishal has been training at the Rainbow Academy, Mampad, for the past four years. Football runs in the family as their father Kanniyan Aboulais is a former player of Friends Mampad FC and Malappuram district team.