The above image is not Lionel Messi, believe it or not, the man in the photo you are seeing is not the Barca icon.
His name is Reza Parastesh and he has gained fame as the doppelganger of the Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi.
Reza Parastesh is an Iranian man who became a social media sensation in 2017 after his father took a photo of him in a Barcelona jersey and posted it online.
In a matter of minutes, the photo had gone viral and Reza had gained the nickname ‘Fake Messi’. Since then, the life of Reza Parastesh has never been the same.
The 26-year-old has become verified on Instagram, boasting a following in excess of over a million.
His striking resemblance to Lionel Messi has opened a lot of doors to him and a lot of legs have willingly spread for him as well. He even grew his beard and dyed it the same color as Messi.
A report from a local news paper suggested that Reza Parastesh has successfully conned over 23 women into bed with his looks–the ladies thought they were having an affair with the original Messi.
Although he has denied numerous time without number and asserted that such stories are purported to damage his reputation, many rumors and accusations still fly on the internet about him.
He was quoted to have said in a video, “Do not believe it, it is not true. I am going to do everything to fight this legally and make sure my name is cleared. The news is spreading in the Muslim countries and it has been a disaster.
“I was severely harassed because it released the whole world on me. My family also harassed me, but the people’s attack was more influential.”
Check below for more photos and videos of Reza Parastesh aka “Fake Messi”.