In a breakthrough that could end the shortage of quality players in the English Premier League, scientists at Maastricht University revealed the world’s first synthetic footballer yesterday. Taking stem cells from two short planks they have turned them into strips of dense muscle, which when inflated with vanity becomes a fully formed midfielder.
The cost implications for the transfer market are huge, as managers will be able to assemble Champions League teams for the cost of a Happy Meal Deal. There are some concerns regarding the quality of lab-grown players, however, with previous attempts involving a combination of root-vegetables, tarmac and pubic hair resulting in a rather unsettling Wayne Rooney.
It is hoped that this latest breakthrough will instead lead to an aesthetically pleasing Beckham-esque model. While the basic material looks like an anaemic Robbie Savage; with added beetroot juice it has a Brazilian-lustre which substantially increases its value. Despite this, some football fans are concerned that artificial strikers will not be able to match the capabilities and cunning of current stars. Lead scientist Mark Post assured fans that the lab version of the footballer will be able to count to seven, and distinguish between a date and serious sexual assault, which is likely to earn them the nickname ‘professor’ in changing rooms across the country. ‘Fans have always admired a player with a cultured right foot,’ commented Post, ‘I don’t see why one whose whole body has been cultured could raise any concerns.’
Ethical boundaries have now become blurred, though, and in a statement, animal welfare campaigners PETA said: ‘Footballers are distant cousins of the homo sapien and should be considered sentient. It’s important that they are kept in simple mansions, regularly coiffured and surrounded by primary colours. Fortunately we’ve had an influx of young models joining our cause, willing to appear without any clothes on in photographs with these simple, innocent creatures so we’re really able to raise awareness.’
The Netherlands institute also hopes to use their patented technology to create lab grown boy bands, Reality TV stars and a more intellectual class of callers for news radio phone-ins.