An Iranian student had to be taken to a police station at the weekend – because he looks too much like Lionel Messi.
So many people in the city of Hamaden wanted a picture with Reza Parastesh that police took him to the station and impounded his car to stop the chaos.
The fuss started a few months ago when the Messi lookalike’s dad made him pose in a number 10 Barcelona shirt.
The 25-year-old soon started cutting his hair and grooming his beard like the Argentina forward.
He told AFP: “Now people really see me as the Iranian Messi and want me to mimic everything he does. When I show up somewhere, people are really shocked.I’m really happy that seeing me makes them happy and this happiness gives me a lot of energy.”
Parastesh is fully booked with media interviews and has even landed modelling contracts.He also says that he is working on some football tricks so he can play the role better.
Iranians are obsessed with football, and Parastesh finds himself constantly besieged by fans looking for a selfie.
“I’m really happy that seeing me makes them happy and this happiness gives me a lot of energy,” he added.
Parastesh loves football but has never played professionally, though he is working on some tricks so he can better play the role.
He remembers very well the last game between Iran and Argentina during World Cup 2014, when Messi’s 91st-minute goal robbed the Islamic republic of a place in the last 16.
Reza’s dad was furious.
“After the game, my dad called me and said don’t come back home tonight… Why did you score a goal against Iran? I said: But that wasn’t me!” Parastesh said, laughing.
His goal now is to meet his hero in Barcelona, and maybe even land a job as his understudy.
“Being the best player in footballing history, he definitely has more work than he can handle. I could be his representative when he is too busy,” he said.