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UNSUBSTANTIATED - 'Possible Maddy McCann Sighting at Football Game Stadium'


Viral social media message suggests that a picture taken from TV coverage of a European football game may show missing English girl Madeline McCann in the stadium audience.

Facebook phising
© zimmytws

Brief Analysis

At the time of writing, the claim remains unsubstantiated. The girl in the footage does have a strong resemblance to Madeline McCann. Some commentators have suggested that the pictured girl looks too young to be Madeline, who would now be eleven. So far, police have made no official statement about the possible sighting.


Please can everyone share this pic possible sighting of maddy it was taken of the TV as a camera spanned the stadium at a benfica game last night in Portugal

Madeleine MaCann Football Game Portugal

Detailed Analysis

This viral social media message suggests that a young girl spotted in the stadium at a recent European football game may be missing English girl Madeline McCann. Madeline went missing in 2007 while on holiday with her family in Portugal.

The circulating message features an image of the girl along with a photograph of Madeline taken before she disappeared. The picture of the lookalike girl was captured from TV coverage of the May 14, 2014 Europa League final in Turin between Seville and Benfica.

A number of fans reported seeing the girl and took to social media noting her close resemblance to Maddy. Some claimed that the girl even had the same distinctive flaw in her eye.

The girl does look like Madeline. However, it remains to be seen if the sighting has any substance. As yet, there have been no official police announcements regarding the sighting.

Madeline would now be 11 and some commentators have pointed out that the girl sighted in the stadium looks younger. It also seems doubtful that perpetrators would take an abducted child to a very public event such as a football final.

As noted, some fans claimed to have noticed a flaw in the girl's eye that looked like Madeline's, although it is difficult to see the alleged flaw in the rather grainy circulating image. However, a May 18 2014 New Zealand Herald article notes:
... a source close to the McCann family said although the girl in the photo bore some resemblance to images of how Madeleine might look now, the apparent flaw was in the wrong eye.

Madeleine's defect - a dark strip on the iris - was in her right eye; the girl in the crowd's appears to be in the left one.
'What is encouraging is that it shows everyone is still looking for Madeleine,' said a friend of the McCanns. 'That will give her family great strength.'

There have been a number of reported sightings of Madeline since her disappearance. So far, none have been confirmed. Another message that went viral in 2013 suggested that a girl in New Zealand might have been Madeline. However, subsequent DNA tests revealed that the girl was not Madeline.

The football game where the lookalike girl was spotted took place in Turin, Italy, not Portugal as claimed in some versions of the circulating message.

Last updated: May 22, 2014
First published: May 22, 2014
Written by Brett M. Christensen
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