Iranian Reza Parastesh is being forced to deny claims that he conned 23 women into sleeping with him by using Lionel Messi’s identity.
The alarming story emerged on social media and Spanish publication Marca this week, claiming that the viral sensation was using his likeness to Messi to a criminal extent.
The article in Marca explained: “Parastesh, the Messi lookalike, has reportedly slept with 23 women, though his actions have been denounced by the authorities.”
Having been informed of the allegations earlier in the week, Parastesh has been working hard to clear his name and has called upon his social media following to get his message across.
The lookalike uploaded an Instagram video rubbishing the allegations, while also explaining how the reports have damaged his reputation and seem him subject to harassment.
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Parastesh denies the allegations
“Hi friends, a piece of false news about me is trending on social media with regards to me sleeping with 23 women because they thought I was Lionel Messi,” Parastesh said to his fans.
“Please do not play with people's reputation and credibility.
“We are all aware of the fact that if it actually happened to anyone, there would be some complaints and it would lead to my prosecution.
'Severely harassed' over the allegations
“That would be a disaster and a calamity of international proportion. If this news was true, I would be in jail right now.
“Do not believe it, it is not true. I am going to do everything to fight this legally and make sure my name is cleared. The news is spreading in the Muslim countries and it has been a disaster.
“I was severely harassed because it released the whole world on me. My family also harassed me, but the people's attack was more influential.”
Known as the ‘Iranian Messi’, numerous images of Parastesh have gone viral and he has been able to use his admittedly uncanny resemblance to his advantage on social media.
The 26-year-old has become verified on Instagram, boasting a following in excess of 700,000 and uses sophisticated edits to drive home comparisons with the man himself.
Parastesh also posts highlights reels of the real Messi and is believed to have started his career as a lookalike when his father encouraged him to wear a Barcelona shirt.
Having noticed a resemblance, the Iranian has been pulling similar poses to Messi in his photos and was sure to grow a beard in recent years to keep up with his idol’s appearance.
But now, regardless of whether the allegations are true or not, the comparisons have worked against him. Watch this space for updates.
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