English, Fake News

2019 images of an Iraqi photographer crying are falsely linked to Messi’s farewell from FC Barcelona


A post with a set of images is being widely shared on social media claiming that the cameraman crying in three images was doing so during Messi’s farewell. Let us fact-check the claim made in the post.

Claim: Images of a Cameraman crying while he was covering Messi’s farewell.

Fact: The images show an Iraqi photographer crying after Iraq was knocked out of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 by Qatar. These images of the cameraman crying have nothing to do with Lionel Messi’s farewell. Lionel Messi broke down at his final press conference as a Barcelona player on 08 August 2021. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.

When reverse image search is done on the image of the cameraman, a Tweet with the same image was found. This tweet was made on the official AFC Asian Cup Twitter page on 24 January 2019. The tweet mentioned the crying cameraman as an emotional and passionate moment of an Iraqi photographer during the round 16 clash against Qatar in AFC Asian Cup 2019.

Taking a cue that the person in these images is an Iraqi photographer, we searched Google for all three images of the person crying. We found twitter posts (here and here) that had the same images of the photographer taken in January 2021. Even these tweets confirm that the images were taken during the AFC Asian Cup 2019.

In a press conference, Lionel Messi announced his departure from FC Barcelona after almost 21 years on 08 August 2021. Bidding farewell from Camp Nou (home stadium of FC Barcelona), Lionel Messi couldn’t hold back his tears while addressing the press.

FACTLY had earlier debunked other claims that linked the images of the same photographer crying to the clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque in 2021; and Dhoni’s dismissal during the 2019 world cup. These articles can be read here and here.

To sum it up, 2019 images of an Iraqi photographer crying are falsely linked to Messi’s farewell from FC Barcelona.


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