Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is arguably one of the best football players on the planet. Thanks to his exploits on the football pitch and his long-term rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi remains one of the most recognised faces in world football. However, a French TV station accidentally used a picture of Messi's lookalike, widely known as the 'Iranian Messi' during a segment on Saturday.
Reza Parastesh, who is widely known as the 'Iranian Messi', remains a popular figure in his native country thanks to an uncanny similarity in his looks in comparison with Barcelona talisman. While Reza Parastesh has made several headlines in the past for being the 'Iranian Messi', his picture was featured on French broadcasters M6 after they mistook his for the real Lionel Messi.
The incident took place on Saturday when the French TV station was doing a segment on sports professionals from around the world who came forward to donate for coronavirus relief. The broadcasters used a picture of Roger Federer along with Lionel Messi for the segment. However, instead of using Messi's image, they accidentally used an image of Reza Parastesh or the 'Iranian Messi'.
The footage from the segment instantly went viral on social media with fans bashing the TV station for their hilarious blunder. One Twitter user wrote, "Journalism 2.0. Does not recognise Messi from his double! Amazing M6. A shame".
French TV using a Messi lookalike picture for their news report. 🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/KhlM2a7pen— Not Match of the Day (@NOT_MOTD) March 28, 2020
Naturally, a host of users reached out to Reza Parastesh with details of the blunder. The Iranian Messi later took to Instagram addressing the confusion surrounding the error by the French TV station. Reza Parastesh wrote, 'It is my picture that the authentic French network (m6) mistakenly used instead of Messi'
Parastesh even shared a screenshot of several hilarious reactions to the same.
While the French broadcasters got the image wrong, they rightly reported that Lionel Messi donated €1 million ($1.1 million) this past week for coronavirus relief. Multiple publications have further reported that the donation is split between a hospital in the Catalan city and another hospital in Rosario, Argentina.