Doctored viral image shows Lionel Messi ‘shopping for guns’ in America


AN image showing the football star, Lionel Messi, pushing a cart containing guns has surfaced online with a claim that it shows the Argentine shopping for guns for self-defence following his relocation to the United States of America.

The image is circulating amid the move of the seven times Ballon d’Or winner from Paris Saint-Germain in France to the American Major League Soccer side, Inter Miami CF.

A verified Twitter account, Troll Football tweeted the image with a caption that reads: 

“Messi has already adapted the American culture.”

The tweet has garnered over 4 million views, over 7,000 retweets and more than 90,000 likes as of July 16, 2023. 

A Facebook page, Soccer Gist posted the image with a caption thus: 

“Messi has already adapted the American culture by buying guns just to threaten refs if they refuse to give him penalty.”

The post has generated over 300 likes and more than 60 comments as of July 16, 2023.

Another Twitter user, @Messi_SZN also tweeted the image with another caption that reads:  “Messi shopping guns in Miami.”

The image has also circulated on multiple social media accounts, especially on Twitter and WhatsApp.



Image shows Messi shopping for guns in the United States.

Screenshot of the tweet posted by Troll Football showing the photoshopped viral image.


Lionel Messi completed his move to Inter Miami CF after exhausting his contract at French champions Paris Saint-Germain which gave him liberty to move to another club on a free transfer.

Barcelona and Saudi Arabia, where Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante now play showed interest in Lionel Messi but he decided to join Inter Miami CF.

Inter Miami, the Major League Soccer team, announced that the Argentine football living legend has signed a contract that will run till 2025 with the team.

Following the development, Messi landed in South Florida on Tuesday, July 11 ahead of his official unveiling on Sunday (July 16). 

The United States records high level of gun violence in the world.

The situation has led to the death of many of its citizens, as no fewer than 330,000 shooting incidents has been recorded in the United States in the last nine years.

As of May 1, 2023, a total of 13,959 people have died from gun violence in the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archive; this is an average of roughly 115 deaths each day.

With Messi moving into the country, his life and family might likely be at risk over the alarming situation.

The photo is being used to push a narrative that the Argentine has started buying guns for personal protection.



Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is MISLEADING.

A Google Reverse Image search shows that the image has been manipulated. The original photo shows Messi pushing a cart containing some consumable items while doing some casual grocery shopping at a supermarket in Miami on Thursday (July 13).

Daily Mail reported that Lionel Messi, his wife (Antonela) and his three children went shopping at a US supermarket in Florida. The football star was seen taking pictures with fans anticipating his debut for the club.

The original image showing Messi with a cart containing groceries.| Twitter

The original image shows when Messi was around the grocery store’s checkout counter with a cart containing groceries including General Mills’ Lucky Charms and Kellogg’s’ Fruit Loops.



The claim that the image shows Lionel Messi pushing a cart containing guns at a supermarket in the United States is MISLEADING; findings show that the viral image has been manipulated, as the cart contains groceries in the original photo.

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Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.


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