A student almost found hismelf in a jail cell this weekend after inciting “chaos” in his home city of Hamedan, eastern Iran. The cause? Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi.
Reza Parastesh, 25, rose to fame after his father, noticing the striking similarity between the two, encouraged him to take to the streets wearing a Barcelona jersey. Soon after, Parastesh had the look down to a tee – complete with signature frown, celebration and gingery beard.
The attention soon proved problematic, however, as people swarmed to grab selfies and photographs with the self-dubbed ‘Iranian Messi.’
So much was his popularity, police confiscated his car and took him off to the local station in order to preserve public order and to clear traffic.
“Now people really see me as the Iranian Messi and want me to mimic everything he does,” Parastesh told the AFP.
“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,” he added.
Parastesh says he is now working on improving his football skills so he can perfect his impression and, perhaps, become his full-time double.
“Being the best footballer in history, he clearly has too many things to manage. I could be his representative when he is overwhelmed,” he joked.