Argentine superstar Lionel Messi apparently has an Iranian body double. Reza Parastesh gets mistaken for the FC Barcelona footballer all the time, with people stopping to take selfies with him in the streets of Tehran.

The lookalike sports the same haircut and beard as the Barcelona forward, and his friends like having a Messi-impersonator in their gang.

“I think it’s a nice feeling to have a friend who looks like Messi. I think that’s a great feeling,” said Amir Mohammad Gharaji. “I mean, sometimes myself, I would look at him and be like ‘That’s Messi, man’ – they look so familiar.”

“When people see him in the street, they take selfies with him,” he continued. “And that’s great too because he’s getting recognition and he deserves it.”

“My friends came to me and said ‘Messi, Messi.’ After that, when I saw him from afar I thought it is really Messi,” said Saeed Rousta. “But once I saw closely – it was Reza Parastesh.”

Sometimes being Messi’s doppelganger has its downside.

Parastesh recalls when Argentina beat Iran in the 2014 World Cup, his father was so upset by Messi’s 91st minute goal that saw Iran kicked out of the knockout stages, he couldn’t even look at him.

“My father is a football fan, so he called me and told me ‘don’t come home tonight’ because he thought that I scored that goal,” he said. “He didn’t let me come home.”

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