Student has auto impounded because he looks like Lionel Messi

Iranian student Reza Parastesh looks so much like his sporting hero Lionel Messi that it nearly landed him in jail for disrupting public order this week.

Paratesh told the AFP that he started playing up his Messi resemblance - by growing out his beard and getting his haircut in the style of the FC Barcelona star - a few months ago, after instigation from his father.

The AFP reports that soccer fans clamoring for selfies with the Messi lookalike caused such a disruption in the city of Hamedan this week that Paratesh was taken to a police station and his vehicle was impounded while authorities tried to quell the madness.

It didn't take long for media interest in the Iranian Messi to take hold, and the likes of RT's Ruptly and BeIN Sports have both interviewed Reza Parastesh in recent weeks.

It all started with Parastesh's father, noticing the resemblance, convinced his son to try on a Barcelona shirt to see how it looked.

Student has auto impounded because he looks like Lionel Messi

But when you look like the spitting image of Lionel Messi, you may just need a police escort to get you around town. A lot of people thought he was real, so many that the police had to get involved.

Parastesh loves football but has never played professionally, though he is working on some tricks so he can better play the role.

A woman poses for a selfie with the Lionel Messi lookalike on the streets of Tehran.

"After the game, my dad called me and said don't come back home tonight. why did you score a goal against Iran?"

"I could be his representative when he is too busy", Reza said.

  • Julie Sanders