A Lionel Messi look-alike has denied ‘conning women into sleeping with him’ by pretending to be the professional footballer.
Reza Parastesh, who calls himself the ‘Iranian Messi’, rubbished claims online he used his likeness to the Barcelona star to his advantage when ‘seducing’ women.
The 26-year-old vehemently denied the allegations, telling his followers they are ‘not true’ and he is going to do everything possible to clear his name.
Spanish sports publication Marca publicised the claims, with them spreading on social media, leading many to denounce Parastesh.
The 26-year-old described the accusation as ‘fake news’, and has since released a video on social media in an effort to clear his name.
He said in the video, as per The Independent:
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. 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. 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.
Parastesh has made a career out of looking like Messi, styling his hair and beard to replicate the footballer’s and using his social media to mimic particular actions of the Barcelona captain.
He explained to Oma Sports how his looks ‘helped his popularity grow’, with his Instagram account booming with hundreds of thousands of followers due to the resemblance.
He says he ‘loves’ making people happy by taking pictures with them, but has never slept with women under false pretences.
Parastesh learned of the allegations earlier this week after they emerged on Twitter, when he says he was ‘harassed’ about them.
The Messi look-alike continued:
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.
The video was shared with Parastesh’s nearly 700K followers, and has been viewed more than 540K times since he posted it three days ago.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30). Alternatively you can contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on its website or on its helpline – 0808 800 5005.
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).