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Fact Check: Don’t Fall For This Image of Messi & Ronaldo Smoking Cigar; It’s AI-generated


A picture that seems like a selfie of legendary footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has surfaced on Internet showing both of them smoking cigars.

The above post can be seen here.


NewsMobile fact-checked the above picture, and found it to be AI-generated.

Observing the picture closely, the NM team noticed a few discrepancies. If the picture in question is a selfie, then it is not clear who is holding the camera, as both of them can be seen holding cigars with one hand and the other hand on each other’s side. Meanwhile, the smoke on Messi’s lips appears to overlap.

Putting the picture through Reverse Image Search, we came across an article by OTV News, titled ‘Footballer Messi And Ronaldo In Diverse Styles Imagined By AI’ featuring many such pictures of Messi and Ronaldo.

In the image gallery, we spotted the picture in question. As per the caption, those were the pictures created by AI generators using Midjourney tool with the name ‘Man Meets Machine’.

Searching with the ‘Man Meets Machine’ tag on Instagram (@manmeetsmachine), our team found many such AI-generated images of celebrities, including Donald Trump, the Pope, Drake, and Elon Musk. The bio of the handle specifies that the content posted is not real but AI-generated or photoshopped: “Nothing Is Real Ai & Photoshop Madness”.

The picture in question was posted on February 22, 2024, along with few other pictures of Messi and Ronaldo. Hence, the above findings establish that the picture in question is not real but AI-generated.

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