Iranian Facebook page set up 'apologising' to Lionel Messi & Fernanda Lima

Iranian Facebook page set up 'apologising' to Lionel Messi & Fernanda Lima

A special Facebook page has been set up apologising to Lionel Messi and Fernanda Lima following the backlash they received in Iran in the wake of last Friday's 2014 World Cup draw.

Both Messi,  and Lima, the Brazilian model who co-hosted the draw, were subjected to vitroilic remarks across social media.

Messi, the reigning four-time World Footballer of the Year, was targeted by some fans after his native Argentina were drawn alongside Iran, Nigeria and Bosnia-Hercegovina in Group F at next year's finals.

Lima's revealing outfit, meanwhile, also elicited fury in the conservative Islamic republic, where women are obliged by law to cover their hair and most of their body.

Every shot of the 36-year-old was cut out as live coverage of the draw played out on state television. "To be honest with you, the dress of the lady who presents the show does not meet our broadcasting guidelines at all," explained the show's host Adel Ferdosipour.

Plenty agreed, with one commentator urging that Lima should "wear a hijab" in the form of a cartoon that was shared by thousands. Messi's official Facebook page, meanwhile, was bombarded huge swathes of derogatory comments.

However, the views expressed were not shared by all Iranians with a Facebook page - "Iranians Apologize to Fernanda Lima & Leo Messi" - set up hours after the draw, attracting almost 44,000 likes to date.

"We are so, so sorry for the offensive comments," writes one commentator. "I apologise to you on behalf of all Iranians," wrote another.

"It's beyond believe that such shameful people are still amongst us," began another. "How long are we going to accept these rude people and what are we going to do about them… Unreal"

Actor Jamshid Mashayekhi also had his say, writing: "I apologise on behalf of all Iranian people to Leo Messi and appreciate his performance, we are not rude people."