A photo shows Messi holding the number 10 jersey of the English football club, flanked by the club’s coach, Pep Guardiola, and its chief executive officer, Ferran Soriano. The photo is captioned: “Manchester new signing.”
There have been rumours that Messi, six-time world footballer of the year, is looking to leave FC Barcelona. The Argentina-born player has been with the club since 2005, but the Spanish club crashed out of the UEFA Champions League in 2020 following a humiliating 2-8 loss.
Did a fed-up Messi then sign with Manchester City in August and take the number 10 jersey, as the photo on Facebook seems to show?
Photoshopped from 2018 signing of another player
If it’s not clear from the fuzzy, low-resolution photo, a reverse image search reveals that the photo has been doctored.
Messi’s head has been copied onto a photo of Algerian national team captain Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez was bought by Manchester City from Leicester City Football Club in July 2018, and the original photo indicates this.
The number 22 on Mahrez’s jersey was replaced with 10 in the photoshopped image shared on Facebook. It’s fake and isn’t evidence that FC Barcelona is losing Messi just yet. – Allwell Okpi
Republish our content for free
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.