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Lionel Messi lifted fake World Cup trophy in historic Instagram post

2:47 am AEDT 5/1/23
Lionel Messi Argentina 2022
The World Cup trophy that Lionel Messi held in his iconic Instagram post was actually a replica made by Argentina fans that ended up on the field.
  • Messi given fan-made replica on field
  • Argentina hero celebrated with fake trophy
  • Posed with it in record-breaking post

WHAT'S HAPPENING? A report from Clarin says that Messi held the imitation for several minutes without realising it was not the trophy handed to him by FIFA president Gianni Infantino. The Argentina hero broke the record for most-liked Instagram post by an athlete, racking up almost 75 million thumbs up for an image of him holding the replica trophy.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The imitation that Messi held was made by Argentina supporter Paula Zuzulich, who explained to 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. The other fans in the stand told us: ‘You lost the cup.’ We were having fun but we wanted it back. That’s when I shouted to a couple of players: ‘That cup that Paredes has, it’s ours.’ In the end, Lautaro Martínez signed it and brought it back over. Then FIFA security arrived and asked us to hand it over to make sure it wasn’t the original.”

AND WHAT'S MORE: Messi paraded fake trophy around the field thinking it was the genuine article until team-mate Angel Di Maria pointed out the mistake. He said: "The security people told me: ‘Please don’t give the cup to anyone.’ I told them: ‘But there’s another cup over there,’ and they replied: ‘No, no, the one you have is the real one, that’s why we’re with you.’ That’s what I was telling Messi.”

STORY IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI? The Argentina captain is back in France and will soon return to club action with Paris Saint-Germain, who take on Chateauroux in the Coupe de France on Friday.