After Lionel Messi’s larger-than-life cutout made its appearance, it wasn’t long until the Brazil and Portugal fans were sparked into action with giant cutouts of their own on the banks of Kerala's Pullavoor river.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 fever has gripped Kerala with fans turning the Pullavoor river into an unlikely destination for a ‘cutout war’ between fans of Argentina, Brazil and Portugal.
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With the World Cup due to kick off in Qatar on November 20, fans in Kerala are keen to show their deviation to their favourite players who will be fighting for the title.
The trend at the Pullavoor river began with Argentina and Lionel Messi fans who first erected a huge cutout of the star right on the riverbank. This quickly spurred the Brazil fans into action and, within a few days, an even larger cutout of Neymar Jr was unveiled just ahead of Messi.
With the two stars proudly displayed at the river, the Portugal fans weren’t going to be left behind installing the biggest cutout yet to ensure their captain, Cristiano Ronaldo, towers over both Messi and Neymar.
Giant cutouts of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo popped up on a river in Kerala, India ahead of the World Cup 🏆 pic.twitter.com/FFIOy6PIUk— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 7, 2022
Not everyone was happy with the installations and the Chathamangalam gram panchayat stepped in to ask the fans to take all of the cutouts down. Their intervention came after a complaint was filed by an advocate, alleging that the cutouts obstruct the natural flow of the water.
However, in a fortunate turn of events for the fans, the Koduvally Municipality stepped in to stay the order of the gram panchayat, stating that the river and the land on both banks falls under their jurisdiction.
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Speaking to OnManorama, V Abdurahiman, chairperson of the Municipality said, "This part of the river and both the banks belong to the Koduvally Municipality.
"I went there and we don't think it obstructs the flow of the river or causes any other trouble," he added. The Koduvally Municipality also said that they’ve not received any legal notice regarding the cutouts.
The World Cup begins on November 20 as hosts Qatar take on Ecuador. Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar will all be fighting to lift their maiden World Cup trophy.
However, for 35-year-old Messi and 37-year-old Ronaldo it may very well be a final attempt at being crowned Champions of the World and further establish their reputations as the greatest to have ever played the game.
Argentina haven’t won a World Cup trophy since Diego Maradona led them to their second title in 1986 while Portugal’s best result was a third-place finish in 1966. Brazil meanwhile have lifted the title five times in total with their latest victory coming in 2002.