An Iranian student who happens to look uncannily like soccer great Lionel Messi, nearly ended up in jail for disrupting public order.
A photo event in Reza Paratesh’s home town of Hamedan attracted so many fans that police had to close it down, according to AFP.
Paratesh’s brush with fame came after his father convinced him to pose for a photo wearing Messi’s number 10 Barcelona jersey and send it to a sports website.
That worked out well as Paratesh became a popular television guest and even got a modeling job.
"Now people really see me as the Iranian Messi and want me to mimic everything he does. When I show up somewhere, people are really shocked," he said. "I'm really happy that seeing me makes them happy and this happiness gives me a lot of energy."
Paratesh is not a professional soccer player, but he’s reportedly working on some dribbling tricks to make his impersonation more realistic.
He said he’d like to meet Messi face to face someday.
"Being the best player in footballing history, he definitely has more work than he can handle. I could be his representative when he is too busy," he said.