Resembling the football skills of Barcelona’s striker Lionel Messi in any way would probably mean a nice payday from a professional football career, but we just found out what physically resembling one of the most famous sporting stars on the planet means: viral stardom.
The world has just found out that the 29-year-old Argentine has a doppelganger on the other side of the world – Hamedan, in the west of Iran, to be more precise. Over there, Reza Parastesh, 25, who looks incredibly like the five-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, has been trimming his hair and beard the same way as the footballer and has now become quite the tourist attraction in his hometown.
According to reports from Iran, the Persian Messi – as Parastesh is now called – was even taken into custody for disturbing public order due to the numbers of people who wanted to take pictures with him and had his car impounded. Luckily, it is not the only thing that has come out of the uncanny similarity, as he was also been offered interviews and modeling contracts because of the publicity his story created.
Left: 25-year-old Reza Parastesh, right: 29-year-old Lionel Messi
Parastesh has found unexpected fame in his home city of Hamedan, western Iran
The resemblance to Messi was first noticed by Reza’s father who then got his son to try on a number FC Barcelona shirts
The Persian Messi then proceeded to trim his beard and get a haircut similar to the Argentine one’s
The only problem for Parastesh is his lack of footballing skills, but he says he is working on that in order to up the authenticity
The townsfolk don’t seem to mind his lack of dribbling skill, though, as Reza is regularly stopped for pictures
“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,” the 25-year-old says
“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,” the Iranian student quipped
Check out Reza Parastesh, the Persian Messi, in the flesh below.