Fan bikes 2,600 miles in hopes of meeting Lionel Messi

Clifin Francis, a mathematics teacher from India, started his journey to the World Cup in February.

Argentina's Lionel Messi   -  Getty Images

One major fan wasn't going to let distance get in the way of making it to the World Cup to meet his icon — Argentina star Lionel Messi. 

Clifin Francis, a mathematics teacher from India, couldn't afford a plane ticket to get from his home in Kerala to Moscow. His solution was to ride his bicycle. Francis started his journey at the end of February and traveled by air to Dubai. From there he took a ferry to Iran and then biked 2,600 miles to get to the capital of Russia.

"I love cycling and I am crazy about football. I simply combined two of my passions," Francis told

Why was Francis so adamant about making it to the World Cup? He hopes to meet Messi.

"I worship him," he said. "It's my dream to meet him and ask him to sign my bicycle."

Argentina will play Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday with the Argentines' final group game set for Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

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