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Juventus sign 10-year-old Palestinian football wonderkid

Norwegian-born Rashed al-Hajjawi joins Italian champions' academy, prompting discussion of Israel-Palestine conflict on football websites
Videos al-Hajjawi posted online have garnered thousands of views (YouTube)

Italian football champions Juventus FC have signed a Palestinian-Norwegian 10-year-old player described as a wonderkid by fans.

Rashed al-Hajjawi, a Norway-born Palestinian, joined the Italian champions’ academy after visiting the Juventus Stadium in Turin, reported.

Videos of the youngster showing his skills in youth-level games have garnered thousands of views online.

His Facebook page has more than 12,000 “likes”, and shows images of al-Hajjawi posing with past Juventus legends including French star Zinedine Zidane, the former world footballer of the year.

News of Juventus’s acquiring al-Hajjawi sparked debates about non-sports related issues, namely the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on football websites.

"Blessed not only with the gift of life cruelly stolen from hundreds of thousands of his kinsmen by the Zionist plague, but also, sublime talent on the ball," one commentator wrote of al-Hajjawi on a Juventus fan blog

Some readers disagreed with that premise.

"Would the same be mentioned if it was an Israeli boy? The people are bombed by Hamas on a weekly basis," a reader wrote in a comment. 

Hundreds of Scottish fans flew Palestinian flags at a football match between Glasgow Celtic and Israeli side Hapoel Beer Sheva in August.

Meanwhile, Palestinian rights groups are calling on FIFA to ban Israeli teams from playing in the occupied West Bank.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.