The 2014 World Cup draw that grouped Iran with heavyweights Argentina has provoked thousands of Iranians to trash the Facebook page of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, according to reports.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Iran was drawn in Group F alongside Argentina, reigning African champions Nigeria and newcomers Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The reaction in Iran was mixed, with some football-mad Iranians embracing the first-ever chance to play Argentina, and some even expressing ambitious hopes of beating the star-studded former World Cup champions, the report said.
However, it was a different story online, particularly on Facebook, where several thousand derogatory remarks were left on Messi's page, the report added.
Many of the comments were in Persian, trashing the 26-year-old superstar, winner of four FIFA Ballon d'Or - the world player of the year, the report further said.
Some made fun of the fact that Messi means 'of copper' in Persian, the report mentioned.
Iran's football federation expressed regret, as did several Iranian national players, according to the report.