World Cup: who is Mario Ferri, the Italian who disrupted Portugal-Uruguay with a rainbow flag

Once again, no one was able to block the flight of the “Falcon” and prevent Mario Ferri from joining the pitch. His new playground? Lusail stadium. In the 52nd minute of the Group H meeting of the World Cup between Portugal and Uruguay (2-0) on Monday evening, the Italian burst onto the Qatari pitch, armed with a rainbow flag. sky, emblem of the repressed LGBTQ community in the Gulf emirate, as well as a T-shirt adorned with the “S” of “Superman” as well as inscriptions in English in support of Ukraine and Iranian women.

The scene, furtively seen on television before being avoided by the realization, lasted only about thirty seconds. A sprint in the middle of apathetic players, before throwing his flag on the ground and being tackled by a member of the security of the enclosure. Then, Mario Ferri was escorted, without violence, outside the field.

“We know what is happening around this World Cup. Of course, we are with them, with Iran too, Iranian women. I hope nothing will happen to this boy because we understand his message, and I think the world understands it too,” reacted Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves after the game. A wish visibly heard. According to AFP, citing a local source, the man was quickly released. On Tuesday, at the end of the morning, his last video posted on his Instagram account showed the star of the Seleçao Cristiano Ronaldo filmed from a tribune of the enclosure and called “my love” by the Italian who was preparing his coup.

A habit for the Transalpin, born in 1987. During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, he burst onto the lawn of the Salvador de Bahia stadium where the round of 16 between Belgium and the United States was being played, annoying more players at the time. Still with his flocked T-shirt with the famous superhero’s “S”, but this time with slogans in homage to a Neapolitan supporter, Ciro, who died shortly before, as well as to the children of the favelas. “For me, Fifa is a mafia”, he explained afterwards to Tutto Mercato to justify his gesture.

Mario Ferri had already struck at the 2014 World Cup, in the round of 16 between Belgium and the United States. AFP/Adrian Dennis AFP

But Mario Ferri, whose animalistic nickname that lends itself to his art of avoiding obstacles comes from footballing characteristics noticed in his youth, does he really need a good cause to come and run on a field? In 2010, “the Falcon” had already managed to enter the field of the semi-final of the World Cup between Spain and Germany. The same year, he also disrupted the Club World Cup final between Inter Milan and Tout Puissant Mazembe in Abu Dhabi, from which he tried to flee in a cruise ship after his gesture. Which had earned him, according to him, to spend a day “hands and feet tied”.

In Ukraine for humanitarian convoys

The list is still long: a friendly Italy-United States, a match between Naples and Juventus Turin in 2017 to spit his hatred at the head of the Argentinian Gonzalo Higuain, freshly moved from Campania to Piedmont, or even the final of the Champions League between FC Barcelona and Manchester United in 2011. “I have always liked the risk”, he explained in 2012 to Milan News in an interview where he reveals that he first looked for a shirt for the striker Italian Antonio Cassano, his idol, before falling back, for lack of anything better, on the blue of Superman.

But what does Mario Ferri live on? Ten years ago, he explained that he owned a restaurant in Italy, artistic director of several establishments, as well as organizer of events and parties. On his Instagram account, followed today by 135,000 people, Mario Ferri now explains that he is a “tipster”, i.e. a sports betting consultant. This is how the one who presents himself online as a “modern pirate” or a “Robin Hood” claims to have financed his humanitarian trip to Ukraine in March.

While he had left to play football in India, Mario Ferri had decided to go into the field to help people fleeing the conflict triggered by Russia. “A Ukrainian friend called me and so, instead of spending hours in front of the TV or the computer doing nothing, I decided to go,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. Ferri had rented a Golf to transport people between Lviv, in the west of the country, and the Polish border.

Another story ? Mario Ferri, who played part of the preliminary round of the Europa League Conference with a San Marino club this summer, has plenty. In April 2020, he is filmed in full confinement on a beach in his city of while jogging. Chased by a policeman, he sprints and ends up letting go of the law enforcement representative. Finally caught, he will be fined. A faithful summary of his life in short.


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