To meet Messi, this Indian football fan has reached Russia from the bicycle.


To what extent football junkies can go, another example of this has become the example of Clifin Francis, living in Kerala.

Many people would have taken flight to watch the Soccer World Cup in Russia, but this man chose a way to decide this long journey through the bicycle.

Passing through the paths of many countries and through many fluctuations, Clifin is engaged in trying to accomplish this journey.

Clifin says that last year a friend asked him whether he was going to watch the World Cup.

Then Clifin said, “Yes, of course I can go to Russia to see it.”

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It was the month of August, but then Clifin did not know where to get the money for the flight ticket. He is a freelance teacher of mathematics and earns Rs 2,700 every day.

Clifin says, “I did not have money to go to Russia and stay there for a month. Then I thought about the cheapest way to go to Russia and I got the answer – bicycle. ”

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Russia from India on bicycles – people had to be surprised at this. Clifin’s friends did not even trust them, but they had decided to go cycling.

On February 23, 2018, he started his difficult but exciting journey. For this, he went to Dubai from the first flight and then Iran via the sea. From here, he boarded his bike and left.

Russia’s distance from Iran to cycling was still 4200 kilometers. But, he was happy to meet the result of this hard work, i.e. meeting his favorite soccer player Lionel Messi.

Clifin says, “I love cycling and I’m crazy about football and here I have mixed my two passion together.”

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Left the path of Pakistan
Clifin was about to go to Pakistan earlier, but after looking at the tense relations between India and Pakistan, he changed the way. However, they also suffered a lot.

He said that he had to spend a lot of money due to change of plan. Those Dubai could not take their bicycles, so they had to buy new bicycles for about Rs 47,000. He was not a very good bicycle for long distance travel, but he could only buy that.

However, as soon as he entered the port of Iran in Bandar Abbas on March 11, his regret was over.

He says, “This is the most beautiful country in the world and people here are very good guests. I spent 45 days there and had to stay in the hotel for just two days. ”

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Clifin had only 680 rupees to spend every day. But, wherever they went to Iran, everyone invited them to stay in their home and to eat.

Clifin says, “My thinking about Iran has changed absolutely. I realized that according to the geopolitics of a country, we should not make an opinion about it. ”

“The people there promised me that I would cheer for the Iranian team in the Soccer World Cup. He loves Bollywood, and this helped me to meet people in many places. ”
The next stop was in Azerbaijan, where it had some difficulty with the travel documents on the border because continuous cycling caused Clifin’s weight to be greatly reduced.

Clifin says, “With less weight, my face changed significantly and I was looking different from the photo taken in the passport. The police took eight hours to check my identity, but their behavior was good. ”

Clifin did not have the money to stay in the hotel in Azerbaijan, so he kept tents in the park instead of the place.

Clifin said, “People here are very good, but take a little time to open. I found some Indians in the capital Baku and I stayed with them for a while. ”
Cliffe stranded in Georgia
Coming to Georgia, Cliffin faced a new difficulty. He said, “I had all the documents, but I do not know why they did not let me go. It put me in trouble because I had only one entry-visa for Azerbaijan. ”

Now Clifin is stuck in ‘No Man’s Land’ between Georgia and Azerbaijan for one day. However, again they got visa for entering Azerbaijan.

Clifin said, “Now I had to find another way to go to Russia. Someone said that the border of Azerbaijan seems to be from the territory of Russia’s Daestat region. I do not think that place is safe or not, I went there. At that time I had no other way. ”

Clifin reached Dagestan on June 5. Language became a big problem for them as people hardly spoke English.

People were too surprised to see them. Clifin said, “People were very surprised to see an Indian on a bicycle. Here too, he has increased the identity of people through soccer and film’s universal language. ”

Cliffin arrives  Russia
Clifin has reached Tambov, which is 460 kilometers away from Russia’s capital Moscow. They have to reach Moscow on 26th June for a match between France and Denmark.

He says, “This is the only match for which I got the ticket. But, I am the fan of Argentina and Lionel Messi. I worship Messi. It’s my dream to meet them and take their autograph on my bicycle. ”

Clifin hopes that his visit will inspire others too. He wants India to take part in the World Cup someday.

At the same time, Clifin says about cycling, “Cycling takes you towards the pre-requisite needs of life. What is most important for you, such as good food, bathing and a good place for tents. In this you are happy. I would be very happy if my visit inspired one child to play soccer. “

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