FACT CHECK: Photo Shared On Social Media Is Edited To Show Lionel Messi Holding Up A Palestinian Flag

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A photo shared on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, allegedly shows Argentinian soccer player Lionel Messi holding up a Palestinian flag. 

Verdict: False

The image has been photoshopped. Messi was originally holding a sign promoting a partnership with Icons Memorabilia.

Fact Check:

The U.S. voted to cesnure Congress’s lone Palestinian-American lawmaker, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, for comments she made regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict, according to Reuters. Tlaib called for a ceasefire and showed her support for Palestine publicly, but was accused of “promoting false narratives regarding the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel,” USA Today reported.

The X post purports athlete Lionel Messi showed support for Palestine. The image appears to show Messi smiling while holding up a Palestinian flag.

“‘Leo Messi Palestinian Support,'” the caption reads.

The image has been digitally altered. The unedited photo was posted by Messi to his Instagram in May 2021 and shows him holding up a sign for a partnership with Icons Memorabilia. “Hello everyone! To celebrate the launch of the official @fcbarcelona memorabilia collection, I’m giving away five signed and framed FC Barcelona shirts here on Instagram with my official and exclusive memorabilia partner, Icons.com,” the caption reads, in part. (RELATED: X Post Purports To Show A Pro-Palestine Billboard In Chicago)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi)

No images of Messi holding a Palestinian flag can be found on his Instagram account.

Check Your Fact reached out to spokespeople for Messi and Icons for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received from either source.

Note: Check Your Fact is working to debunk false and misleading claims from the recent event. Please send tips to [email protected].  

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter