Famed actor and singer Phakin Khamwilaisak has signed a six-month contract with Thailand's Ratchaburi Mitr Phol, the club confirmed on Saturday, three days before the start of their AFC Champions League campaign.
"Welcome 'Tono' to the family. The club is surprising the fans by officially introducing 'Tono' on a six-month contract," the club announced in a statement. "He is ready to play in the AFC Champions League. Tono will wear the No. 96 jersey with the name 'PHAKIN.'"
Ahead of their debut in Asia's premier club competition, Ratchaburi were expected to bring in reinforcements, but few would have expected one of those to come in the form of a 34-year-old local celebrity who gained prominence in Thailand while appearing on a reality television competition.
Phakin -- or "Tono," as he is known to his fans -- first raised eyebrows when he trained with the Ratchaburi first team as they prepared for their upcoming ACL campaign, although reports at the time said his participation was purely as a means for him to keep fit.
Yet, in a surprise turn of events, reports said he impressed the Thai League 1 outfit so much that they were convinced to offer him a contract, despite him having no previous experience at that level and his advanced age for a professional footballer.
Should Phakin make his debut in the ACL, it will be a touch start to his career. Ratchaburi will take on South Korea's Pohang Steelers, Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim and Japan's Nagoya Grampus in their Group G campaign, which runs from June 22 to July 7.