Saudi Player Asked Messi to Adopt Islam During FIFA World Cup? Clip is Edited

The audio of the conversation between Al-Bulayhi and Messi was not recorded.

3 min read
Saudi Player Asked Messi to Adopt Islam During FIFA World Cup? Clip is Edited

A video of an interaction between Saudi Arabian defender Ali Al-Bulayhi and Argentinian striker Lionel Messi, during their group stage match at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, has gone viral to claim that Messi was asked to embrace Islam by the Saudi player.

What does the video show?: Al-Bulayhi can be seen tapping Messi on his back and talking to him, in what appears to be an aggressive stance. Messi laughs it off and doesn't respond. The audio in the background talks about 'converting to Islam in order to go to heaven'.

An archive of the post can be found here.

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

This above post on Twitter had received over 2,00,000 views at the time of publishing this article.

(Archives of more such posts can be found here and here.)


What is the truth?: The viral clip is an altered one.

  • The audio in the clip is reportedly from a conversation between Pakistani cricketer Ahmed Shehzad and Sri Lankan player Tillakaratne Dilshan in 2014.

  • The audio of the conversation between Al-Bulayhi and Messi was not recorded, but the former later said that he told Messi that Argentina would not win the match.

What did we find the source of the video?: Upon listening to the audio in the viral video, the commentator said, "Sri Lanka winning by seven wickets by the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method (DLS)."

  • The terminology used by the commentator made it clear that the audio was from a cricket match and not a football match.

  • We then conducted a keyword search for "Sri Lanka + converting to Islam" and found news reports on NDTV and The Hindustan Times from 2014. The reports noted that Pakistani batsman Shehzad had said this to Sri Lanka's Dilshan after their match in August 2014.

  • The Pakistan Cricket Board had ordered an internal investigation, but the Sri Lankan Cricket Board had not lodged a complaint over Shehzad's comments.


What about the conversation between Al-Bulayhi and Messi?:

  • We conducted a keyword search on Google for Messi and Al-Bulayhi and found several news reports that talked about their interaction.

  • We also found clips of the video on social media, but none of the video recorded the conversation between the two.

  • We then found a post-match interview of Al-Bulayhi where he was asked about the interaction and he said he told Messi that, "you (Argentina) would not win."

Conclusion: A doctored video has gone viral to claim that a Saudi Arabian player asking Messi to convert to Islam during their World Cup encounter.


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Topics:  Webqoof   Fact-Check   2022 FIFA World Cup 

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