French TV station accidentally use image of Lionel Messi lookalike on live TV


If you went back through the archives and compiled a list of the most photographed sports stars throughout history, you’d expect Lionel Messi to be pretty high up on it.

The Argentinian maestro has dominated world football throughout an exceptional 16-year-long career, and has starred in some of the most exciting and high-profile fixtures of all time.

Every move Messi makes is admired the world over, and match reporters and cameramen know all too well that if they lose sight of him for a second, they will likely miss some magic.

With all that in mind, you’d expect that when you need to find a photograph of the great man to help supplement a news bulletin, it would be easy as pie to get hold of one.

However, as the French broadcaster M6 have proven today, it isn’t necessarily as simple as you might all think when the pressure of live television is upon you!

During their Saturday lunchtime news bulletin, M6 reported on how the world’s biggest sports stars are coming together to donate large sums of money to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

They tried to pair a snap of Roger Federer with a picture of Messi to support the story, but to their embarrassment, accidentally featured an image of a Messi doppelgänger in his place!

Take a look for yourself below. If you were the person in charge of the visuals behind this news bulletin, now’s the time to look away.

The Messi lookalike in question is Reza Parastesh, who hails from Iran and hit the headlines three years ago for his incredible resemblance to the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

The mistake becomes more forgivable when you remember that in 2017, Parastesh was escorted to a police station because he was causing such an uproar in the city of Hamaden.

And fortunately, the image they used of Parastesh certainly looks enough like Messi to not distract audiences from the Argentinian’s noble contribution to the fight against COVID-19.


Earlier this week, Messi made a donation worth €1 million to the cause, which will be split between the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona and another in his hometown of Rosario, Argentina.

Let’s hope Messi and his fellow professionals continue to contribute and receive the credit they deserve for their support – ideally with appropriate images!

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