The World Cup only happens every four years, and fans are definitely taking advantage of the month-long tournament.
There are diehard fans, and then there’s Clifin Francis. Francis is a math teacher from India who’s biking from Iran to Russia in hopes of meeting Argentina forward Lionel Messi.
“I love cycling and I am crazy about football,” Francis told BBC. “I simply combined two of my passions.”
He originally wanted to travel through Pakistan, but the tense relationship with India prevented him from doing so. He was even forced to buy a new bike.
“The change in plan cost me a lot,” he added. “I could not take my bike to Dubai and had to buy a new one there which cost $700. It wasn’t the best one for long-distance travels but that’s all I could afford.”
That all changed once he made his way to Iran in March and realized how quickly the people there were willing to take him in as if he were family.
“It’s the most beautiful country in the world and the people are so welcoming,” he said. “I spent 45 days in the country, but stayed in a hotel only for two days.”
So far, he’s only got tickets to the France and Denmark game in Moscow, but his biggest dream is to meet Messi and ask the superstar to sign his bike.
Messi has the weight of Argentina on his shoulders. He’s currently facing off against Croatia in hopes of bringing his country a World Cup victory just days after a 1-1 draw against Iceland. Argentina has lost in three straight finals appearances in the past three years.
“His aim is to bring the Cup home, to win the World Cup,” his mother recently revealed during an appearance on an Argentian TV show. “It’s one of his biggest desires. We see him suffer and cry at times.”
With the Croatian match underway, we’ll soon see if he can win the World Cup after losing in 2014 against Germany.