Lionel Messi‘s record-breaking Instagram photo, which saw him get more than 74 million likes, reportedly featured a fake World Cup.

The Argentina star made history when a photo of him thrusting the trophy into the air, following a dramatic penalty shootout win over France, became the most liked image on the photo-sharing app, surpassing ‘The Egg’.

But two fans have now explained to Argentinian outlet Clarin that the trophy in Messi’s grasp for the on-pitch photos was in fact fake.

Lionel Messi’s picture of him lifting the World Cup trophy became the most-liked Instagram image of all-time last month – overtaking an image of an egg

Two fans have now revealed it was a fake trophy he was holding, which Angel Di Maria spotted

As is customary, FIFA removed the original trophy some moments after president Gianni Infantino had handed it to Messi for the podium photographs. 

Players appeared not to realise and the work of two fans soon duped many of them, with their replica trophy making its way to the pitch for selfies and more pictures.

Paula Zuzulich, an Argentina fan who was out 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. 

Messi saw the funny side, with the original whisked away by FIFA without players realising

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 the eagle eyes of 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 managed to see the funny side. 

Photographers captured the moment Di Maria pointed to the bottom of the replica before sharing a laugh about the misunderstanding with Messi.  

Messi 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 a caption that read: ‘WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!!!!! I dreamed it so many times, I wanted it so much that I still haven’t fallen, I can’t believe it……

Messi was jubilant after he helped Argentina to secure glory in the World Cup final in Qatar

‘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’.

The record for ‘likes’ was previously held by Chris Godfrey, who uploaded a photo of an egg in January 2019.

The photo ended up getting 56.1 million likes, with the aim of surpassing the then-most liked Instagram post, a picture of Kylie Jenner’s daughter which had 18.6 million likes. 

It surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo’s post from November – an advert for Louis Vuitton ahead of the World Cup in which the Portuguese star and Messi were seen playing chess that had accumulated 42.6 million likes. 

 Messi’s post surpassed the number of likes received by Cristiano Ronaldo’s from November

Lionel Messi unknowingly lifted FAKE World Cup trophy in record Instagram photo

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