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Bangladeshi man’s painting of Lionel Messi comes to life after 6 years

A young Bangladeshi architect has earned fame after his digital drawing of footballer Lionel Messi was matched in real life six years later.

Suhas Nahian’s 2013 artwork shows Messi dribbling past a group of players in green and white, leaning his head forward as one of the defenders grabs his red-and-blue Barcelona jersey.

Photos of Messi shot during a recent match against Real Betis show him in an almost identical pose, complete with one defender on the ground as the Argentinian charges through.

messi, lionel messi,
This combination of pictures created on March 23, 2019 shows (top) painting of Bangladeshi architect Suhas Nahian, 29, in Dhaka on March 23, 2019 (down) Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R) shoots to score a goal during the Spanish league football match between Real Betis and FC Barcelona at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville on March 17, 2019. – AFP

“I painted something 6 years ago, and the image came true,” Suhas, 29, said on Instagram.

He told AFP that he watched the La Liga match, which saw Messi score a hat-trick as Barcelona won 4-1, but noticed nothing exceptional until a friend phoned him and excitedly pointed out the striking similarities.

“I looked back and found those are actually very similar,” he said. “It was fascinating. I was surprised.”

Suhas, who now owns an architecture firm, said the digital painting he drew as a student in 2013 was shared by a football fan page called Plaantik at that time.

“I am glad my only painting brought me so much fame, as it has been published in many Spanish, Argentine and Indian media,” he said.

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Suhas said he did not choose Betis’s white and green jersey for his artwork consciously.

“Barcelona’s jersey is very vibrant with blue and red, so from the point of colour I wanted to paint the rest of the painting in green so that Messi stays in focus,” he said.

“So I chose this green and white jersey, not specifically thinking of Betis but from the sense of colour.”

Suhas said his artwork was part of a football-themed series that he wanted to do including Messi’s dribbling, Cristiano Ronaldo’s header and Xavi’s turn.

“I am a Barcelona fan but I admire all great players. This is why I wanted to draw this football series. But after the painting on Messi’s dribbling, I could not complete the rest,” he said.

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