In 2017, Iranian man Reza Parastesh made the news after he faked the identity of former Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and succeeded in sleeping with 23 women who thought he was real.
How did Reza Parstesh succeed in pulling such a prank?
His father once gave him a Barcelona shirt and asked him to pose with it. The result was absolutely fantastic and hilarious at the same time.
Because of their resemblance, Parastesh even cut his hair and grew his beard like the Barcelona captain, heightening his resemblance to Messi.
The photo quickly went viral, earning Parastesh the moniker “fake Messi.”
When interviewed by AFP in 2017, Parastesh stated that he wanted to be a carbon copy of Messi in every way. But, as Medio Tiempo put it, his fame grew as quickly as his beard (and, of course, Messi’s).
Nonetheless, he got in trouble with the Iranian police because he tried to impersonate Messi by using his resemblance to him.
Despite his sense of humour, Parastesh has expressed his concern about the serious harassment he has faced as a result of this. In addition, he expressed a desire to meet the real Lionel Messi in the future.
Still, he believes his chances are slim, and he admits he doubts the Argentinian legend is aware of his existence.
Reza Parastesh is an Instagram celebrity who has over a million followers. His striking resemblance to Lionel Messi has made him an overnight star.