By The Maravi Post
Reza Parastesh is an Iranian understudy, native to the western city of Hamedan.
He is an ordinary 25-year-old guy, aside from one seemingly insignificant detail – he looks exactly like Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi.
Parastesh is an Instagram VIP who has over one million followers. His striking likeness to Messi has made him an overnight star.
The Iranian man made the news in 2017 after he impersonated the former Barcelona player and bedded 23 women who thought he was genuinely Messi.
How did Reza Parstesh manage to pull off such a stunt?
According to reports, his dad once gave him a Barcelona shirt and the resemblance to the legend was uncanny.
Parastesh even trimmed his hair and developed his facial hair like the former Barca striker, elevating his likeness to Messi.
The photograph immediately circulated and became popular on the internet, acquiring Parastesh the moniker “counterfeit Messi”.
When interviewed by AFP in 2017, Parastesh said that he should have been a copy of Messi all over (not just in the face).
Regardless, as Medio Tiempo put it, his approval grew as quickly as his beard (and, clearly, Messi’s).
He was surrounded by people wanting to take photos with him – and police were attracted by the public disturbance. His car was impounded and he was rushed to the nearest police station.
Thankfully, he was later set free and has reportedly been offered modelling contracts and interviews since the incident.
While many of his experiences have been really amusing, Parastesh conveyed his uneasiness about the real harassment he has encountered.
He yearns to meet the veritable Lionel Messi later on. Taking everything into account, he acknowledges his prospects are meagre, and he questions whether the Argentinian legend thinks about his existence.
Well, at least if Messi ever doesn’t feel like getting out of bed and needs someone to impersonate him for a day, he’ll know who to call.