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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lionel Messi lookalike, Reza Parastesh, causes panic in streets of Iran

Messi Lookalike
Reza Parastesh, left (we think), bears a striking resemblance to Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

We here at Toe Poke love an odd story, and do we have one for you.

This one comes from an unlikely football source, Iran, where a 25-year-old student was detained -- yes, detained -- over the weekend for looking too much like Barcelona and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi, if you can believe it.

We'll let that sink in a bit. ...

But it's true! Reza Parastesh looks so much like the five-time Ballon d'Or winner that police in the city of Hamaden brought him to their station and impounded his car because of the commotion he was causing on the streets.

Reza Parastesh is often mistaken for Barcelona's legendary No. 10.
Parastesh causes commotion in the streets!

Apparently, too many people were stopping and requesting to take pictures with Parastesh, who has become a bit of a star and, to quote the BBC, "is fully booked with media interviews and has even landed modelling contracts."


Who is behind his sudden burst of fame, you might wonder? A stage father, of course, who was the first to put him in a Barca No. 10 shirt and snap a photo some 10 months ago. The rest is Doppelgänger history.

"Now people really see me as the Iranian Messi and want me to mimic everything he does," Parastesh, who says he is working on some football tricks, 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."

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