Does This Photo Show People Gathered in Paris to Celebrate Messi’s Transfer to PSG?

By Naomi Wanjiku

This Facebook post claims to show a photo of 300,000 people gathered in Paris, France, to celebrate Lionel Messi’s transfer to Paris Saint-Germain Football Club (PSG).

Background

Messi, a six-time world’s best footballer, signed a two-year contract with PSG on 10 August 2021. The 34-year-old, who will be wearing jersey number 30 at PSG, was meant to sign a new five-year contract with Barcelona. However, Messi’s contract with Barcelona could not be actualised because of “financial and structural obstacles” at the club.

In this news conference on 8 August 2021, Messi was overcome by emotions as he bid farewell to Barcelona, a club he has represented for 21 years.

Nonetheless, was the image of a large crowd crammed into one space taken in Paris? And was it related to his transfer to PSG?

Verification

Google reverse image search reveals that the image was not taken in Paris, but Chicago, during the Lollapalooza Music Festival.

The photo was taken by an aerial photographer named Colin Hinkle from the balcony of his house, which overlooks Grant Park. The photographer told Business Insider that he was trying to capture a large crowd crammed into a small space.

“What I wanted to try to capture this year was that while they have all their restrictions in place for this event, I knew that a large group of people in one space was kind of contradicting all of the rules and regulations that were being told,” the aerial photographer said.

The publication reported that event organisers required the attendees to show printed proof of their vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 test. Those who had not been vaccinated were allowed into the concert provided they wore their masks during the entire festival.

This year’s Lollapalooza Music Festival was staged at Grant Park in Chicago from 29 July to 1 August 2021. According to ABC7 Chicago, the four-day event attracted 100,000 people every day and 200 artists performed on the seven stages.

Verdict

PesaCheck has looked into a Facebook post claiming to show a photo of 300,000 people gathered in Paris to celebrate Lionel Messi’s transfer to Paris Saint-Germain Football Club (PSG) and finds it to be FALSE.

This story was produced by Africa Uncensored in partnership with Code for Africa with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.

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