Who is Roony Bardghji? Copenhagen’s 16-year-old Swedish prodigy

Bardghji, more commonly known as Roony, is being courted by Europe’s giants after breaking several records in the Superliga this season.

We’ve seen one brilliant Rooney in world football, and now it appears another is emerging. 16-year-old right winger Roony Bardghji is attracting interest from Europe’s elite after a breakout season with FC Copenhagen. The player has been dubbed ‘The Swedish Messi’ by some due to his left footed nature and technically strong diminutive style standing at 5 foot 6.

Roony was born in Kuwait City to Syrian parents and made the move to Sweden at the age of 7 and   joined Zlatan Ibrahimović’s former side Malmo in 2019. Able to operate as a second striker as well as attacking midfield, Roony was already featuring for Mamo’s under 19s at 14 and after a year made the move across Scandinavia to Danish giants Copenhagen, where in his first ten matches for the under 17s he hit fifteen goals, leading the club to tying him down to a three and a half year deal announced on his 15th birthday on the club’s official website, where Head of Talent Sune Smith-Nielsen couldn’t contain his delight:

“We are proud that we can attract and recruit one of the undoubtedly biggest Nordic talents. He is a unique player with special abilities on the highest international level, which he has already shown for us this season. Outside the field he has a great attitude as well and the right frame of mind to succeed.”

After seven goals and three assists in the under-19s side, Copenhagen were eagerly awaiting Roony’s 16th birthday so that he could finally feature for the first team. Just six days after the occasion Roony turned out for Jess Thorup’s side, playing 65 minutes in a 1-1 draw against Aarhus, becoming Copenhagen’s youngest ever player in the process. Just a week later Roony was breaking records again, scoring a stunning 25 yard strike off his wand of a left foot in a 3-1 win over Aalborg to break the record of youngest goal scorer in Danish Superliga history.

The strike went viral with Copenhagen’s official Instagram sharing a clip of Roony’s goal with the caption:

‘Youngest goal scorer in Superliga history @roony.bardghji 16 years and 13 days old #fcklive.

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Copenhagen are keen for Bardghji to bring them success before making the step to a top European side.

What next for Roony Bardghji?

Right now, it appears the sky’s the limit for the Sweden under-17 international. For such a young player he has such a clear understanding of the game matched with strong balance and technical quality. In similar fashion to Messi, he is a nightmare try and get the ball off. He has scored five goals in six games for his national side, including a brace and a 95th minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic. His National team coach Roger Franzen told Sportexpressen that the teenager ‘Has exceptional qualities that stand out’ and that he is ‘capable shooting off both feet, making him incredibly difficult for the opposition to read.’

Since his debut he has gone on to make fourteen first team appearances scoring two goals. Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea and Ajax are all heavily linked with making a move for Bardghji this summer, but manager Jess Thorup is keen for the youngster to become part of the core of a young side that includes fellow Scandinavian young talent such as William Boeving and Isak Johannessen.

“When the time is right and the really big clubs are there, then that can be the springboard.

Right now, he’s going to play a hell of a lot of games for Copenhagen and make a difference, and that’s hopefully what we’ll see.”

It would be sound advice for Roony to follow his manager’s wisdom. Becoming the heart of Copenhagen’s team and trying to win titles would be a far more rewarding experience than spending time either out on loan or in the reserves of one of Europe’s big boys. His quality is undoubted, and he’ll only become more of a force for both club and country with his current platform. The comparisons to Messi are unfair but the sentiment of it is that this is a player seen as generation by Sweden and if he can become half as good as one of football’s greatest ever stars, world football will be putting his name alongside the likes of Zlatan as one of Sweden’s greats in years to come.