« Back to articlePrint this article

What Are Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo Doing In Kerala?

November 18, 2022 06:38 IST

FIFA World Cup

IMAGE: Larger-than-life cutouts of football stars Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr and Cristiano Ronaldo erected along the river at Pullavoor in Kozhikode.Photograph: PTI Photo

Football frenzy is peaking in Kerala ahead of the World Cup as huge cutouts of Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr and Cristiano Ronaldo erected alongside a scenic river flowing through this north Kerala district have grabbed worldwide attention.

As the marquee tournament kicks off in Qatar on Sunday, soccer mania has gripped the southern state and fan pages, largely celebrating South American nations dominating the sport, have started going viral.

Kerala, known for its love for football, caught global attention when a group of Argentinian soccer fans in Pullavoor village erected a 30-foot-tall cutout of Messi over a small islet in ahead of the Qatar World Cup.

If Argentina is there, can Brazil be left behind?

Brazil fans erected a 40-foot-tall cutout of Neymar Jr along the banks of the river, spicing up the contest between supporters of the two stars and their South American teams.

It didn't take long for Messi and Neymar Jr to be overshadowed by yet another over 45-foot tall Cristiano Ronaldo cutout wearing the Portugal jersey. The fans have used his widely shared image of him preparing for a free kick at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

FIFA World Cup

FIFA tweeted a picture of the cutouts, saying 'World Cup fever has hit Kerala'.