Messi’s Iranian doppelgänger is back and this time, he’s trying to meet his idol. Reza Parastesh, better known as the Iranian Messi for his striking resemblance to the Barcelona superstar, was spotted at Camp Nou during Barca’s 2-0 victory over Malaga on Saturday. The 25-year-old from Hamaden was at the game holding a sign designed to catch Messi’s attention: “Today there are two Messis in the stadium. Will we see each other? #makemydreamareality”
Before the match, the Messi lookalike spent the day out in the Catalan capital, donning his jersey and drawing lots of attention. The attention transferred over when fans saw him at Camp Nou. He was crowded by people wanting pictures and was even caught in a memorable image that shows him looking on with a smile at the real Messi on the field.
Parastesh first caught the media’s eye after his father convinced him to throw on the number 10 Barca jersey and take some photographs. The Iranian sent the photos to a sports website who immediately contacted him for an interview, and the rest is history. Since then, Parastesh has cut his hair like Messi’s, and he started wearing Argentina and Barcelona jerseys while out in public. He’s even practiced the Argentine’s mannerisms to sell the illusion.
“Now people really see me as the Iranian Messi and want me to mimic everything he does. I’m really happy that seeing me makes them happy and this happiness gives me a lot of energy,” Parastesh told the Daily Mail back in May.
Not all of the attention has been positive, however. Shortly after becoming a viral sensation, Parastesh caused a commotion in his hometown, as fans mobbed him thinking he was the real Lionel Messi. It got so bad that police had to detain him for disturbing the peace.