Image of footballer Lionel Messi holding Israeli flag is morphed

By: Rajini KG
November 3 2023

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Image of footballer Lionel Messi holding Israeli flag is morphed

Screenshots of the viral posts circulating online. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

The original image shows Messi holding a private company's placard that reads ‘’ from September 2023. The viral image is digitally altered.

Claim ID ce084d13

What is the claim?

A screenshot of an alleged Instagram post by footballer Lionel Messi, showing him holding the Israeli flag, is circulating on social media amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. A Facebook user shared the image along with the message: "God bless Leo Messi, we love you. He is far better than Ronaldo. God bless Messi."

An archived version of this post can be found here.

Screenshots of the viral Messi post that is circulating online. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the image is fake. An older photograph of Messi has been digitally manipulated and shared with false claims.

What we found

We examined Messi's official Instagram account and found that he has not shared any such post recently.

Through a reverse image search, we discovered that a Facebook page named '' had shared the original image of Messi on October 3, 2023. is an online retailer based in London which sells authentic signed sports memorabilia.

In the original image, Messi is holding a placard with the '' logo, not the Israeli flag. The background and Messi's attire in this image are similar to the now-viral image. Upon closer inspection of the placard in the viral image, a thin grey border can be observed around his fingers on the left side of the image, indicating that the grey placard in the original image has been edited and replaced with the Israeli flag.

Comparison of image and viral image. (Source: Facebook/Screenshots)

The official Instagram account of also shared the original image on October 31, 2023. The same image can also be found in a listing on the company's website, titled 'Lionel Messi Official Signed Tribute Artwork In Black Wooden Frame: 2022 FIFA World Cup Winner.'

The website listing confirms that this image of Messi holding a placard was taken on September 29, 2023, when the World Cup winner signed a tribute art piece during a private signing event in Miami. The website shared other pictures of Messi from the event as well.

A screenshot of the original image was shared by on its website. (Source:

Therefore, we can confirm that Messi was carrying a grey placard that read ‘, Signed by the world’s best,” and not the Israeli national flag.

The verdict

Footballer Lionel Messi’s image from a private signing session has been photoshopped to claim he held up the Israeli flag and supported Israel amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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