A three-foot-tall cutout of Lionel Messi was erected underwater by Argentina fans from the Kavaratti island in the Lakshadweep archipelago, setting a new record for fandom.
It all began when Argentina supporter and blogger Mohammed Swadikh from Kavaratti claimed on Facebook that he would carry out this action should his country advance to the final. “Everyone was talking about the football fever in Malabar while our love for the game went unnoticed. We wanted to do something unique to draw attention. We have erected the cutout in an area in the ocean known in our part as wall of wonder. We wanted to put another wonder Leo alongside,” he explains.
FIFA, the organisation that governs football, posted a picture of the enormous cutouts of Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar in the middle of a river in Pullavoor in Kerala before the World Cup began. FIFA posted the photo to show how the State was in the grip of World Cup fever.
Swadikh transported the cutout far into the ocean with the help of Ammathi Scuba and Lakshadweep Adventures. He did the task alongside other Argentina fans, Razzaque and Shefeek. They finished the "mission" in approximately an hour.
“We had put up another giant cutout of Messi on the island. We designed this one using water resistant material to specifically mark Argentina’s entry into the final,” says Swadikh.
Since then, a video of the cutout submerged and surrounded by fish and coral reefs has gone viral. Mohammed Faizal, the Lakshadweep MP, was one of those who tweeted it.
The cutout will be removed after the World Cup final if the supporters don't want to leave it there indefinitely.