An Iranian student who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Barcelona star was taken to a police station after too many people wanted pictures with him
If you’re like Iranian student Reza Parastesh, and you look like Lionel Messi, you don the famous Barcelona No.10 jersey and walk about town.
Unfortunately for Parastesh, 25, the police in Hamadan had to impound his car and take him into the station to quell the stir caused when the lookalike — self-dubbed the “Iranian Messi” — prompted too many people to stop him for photos over the weekend.
He got the idea from his dad a few months ago, after father asked son to pose in a replica Messi jersey. That led to Parastesh styling his hair — both facial and on his head — like the Argentine superstar.
“Now people really see me as the Iranian Messi and want me to mimic everything he does,” Parastesh told AFP. “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.”
Parastesh may have found himself a career imitating the Barcelona forward, with media appearances growing thanks to his newfound notoriety.
The Arsenal star is concentrating on ending the season on a high and defended manager Arsene Wenger as speculation mounts over his future at the club
Mesut Ozil has reiterated that talks over his future can wait until the end of the season as he focuses on attempting to help Arsenal finish in the top four.
Huge doubts still remain over the Germany international’s long-term future at Emirates Stadium, with Ozil’s contract expiring in the summer of 2018.
Team-mate Alexis Sanchez is in a similar position in that it is unclear if he will commit to the Gunners although Ozil maintains that a strong finish to the season is all he is worrying about.
He told Sky Sports: “As I’ve said in the past, the most important thing is Arsenal and what we do as a team now.
“I’ve got aims with this club, we all want the top four and that’s what counts at the moment.
“As I’ve said before, in the summer we will talk but right now Arsenal stands in front of any player and I respect that.
“As I’ve always said in the past, I feel comfortable here. I’m happy. Arsenal belong as one of the best clubs in the world and London is a great place to be, a great city to live in.
“So after the season we will talk and then we will make a decision from there.”
Uncertainty also remains over manager Arsene Wenger and his position at the club but Ozil had words of support for the Frenchman, at hit back at those that have been critical.
He added: “When you’re not successful – or not as successful as you’d like to be – there’s always a lot of talk from people outside and people who maybe think they know things better.
“For example, ex-players or pundits; people who’d like to be in his position.
“But what’s important is that you have trust in him. He’s a big coach and has given massive amounts for this club and he deserves respect.”