Lionel Messi’s record-breaking Instagram photo which saw the Paris Saint-Germain star get more than 74 million likes, reportedly featured a fake World Cup.
- Ronaldo split with super agent Jorge Mendes due to disagreement over Man Utd exit
- Chelsea offer three players plus £79m for Enzo Fernandez
- Newcastle reveal truth behind rumours of Ronaldo joining the club next season
The Argentina star made history when a photo of him thrusting the trophy into the air, after the penalty shootout win over France, became the most liked picture on the photo-sharing app, surpassing ‘The Egg’.
But two supporters have now explained to Argentinian outlet Clarin that the trophy in Messi’s grasp for the photos was in fact fake.
As is customary, FIFA removed the original trophy some moments after president Gianni Infantino had given it to Messi for the podium photographs.
Players appeared not to realise and the work of two supporters soon duped many of them, with their replica trophy making its way to the pitch for selfies.
Paula Zuzulich, an Argentina fan who was in Qatar, told Clarin: ‘Before the World Cup we got in touch with people who make trophies and it took six months to make it.
‘The idea was to get the players to sign it, but in the end, it was taken down to the pitch three times. First a member of [Leandro] Paredes’ family got him to sign it. The second time we were asked for it, it was down there for 45 minutes, being passed from one player to another, from one relative to another, while photos were taken.
She added: ‘FIFA security arrived and asked us to hand it over to make sure it wasn’t the original. ‘There are some details, marks and reliefs that are not similar, but the difference is minimal.’
It took Angel Di Maria to notice on the bottom of the trophy a difference between the original and the replica, and it was he who pointed out to Messi, who saw the funny side.
Photographers captured the moment Di Maria pointed to the bottom of the replica before sharing a laugh about the fake trophy with Messi.
But, the PSG star wasn’t the only one duped by the replica and it will be immortalised for taking centre stage in the most liked Instagram photo ever.
Messi accompanied the post with the caption: ‘WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!!!!! I dreamed it so many times, I wanted it so much that I still haven’t fallen, I can’t believe it……
‘Thank you very much to my family, to all who support me and also to all who believed in us. ‘We demonstrate once again that Argentines when we fight together and united we are capable of achieving what we set out to do.
‘The merit belongs to this group, which is above individualities, it is the strength of all fighting for the same dream’.