An Iranian man has identified as Reza Parastesh has been accused of conning 23 women into sleeping with him after apparently using the identity of Lionel Messi.
Reza Parastesh, who is known as the Iranian Messi, was at the center of allegations published in Marca that he pretended to be the Barcelona superstar to score with females.
However, the man had moved to deny the allegations made in Spanish publication Marca and on social media. In a video post on Instagram, Parastesh said:
“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, 26, was informed of the allegations earlier this week and he has been trying to clear his name since. He added that the experience has been made worse because of how quickly the news has spread.
“The news is spreading in the Muslim countries and it has been a disaster,’ he said. ‘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.”
Parastesh uses his likeness to Messi as a way of promoting his Instagram page, which has nearly 700,000 followers. His page displays pictures of him pulling similar poses to the Barcelona forward as well as wearing the kit of the La Liga champions.
It also features footage of the real Messi in action on the pitch and during press conferences.
He is reported to have started pursuing a career as a Messi look-alike when his dad suggested he put on a Barcelona shirt to see much he resembled the Argentine. He was also encouraged to grow a beard to keep up-to-date with Messi’s looks.