Pro-ISIS Group Threaten 2018 World Cup with Poster of Lionel Messi Crying Blood

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2017

Argentina's Lionel Messi listens to the national anthems before the start of the 2018 World Cup qualifying football match between Argentina and Venezuela in Buenos Aires on September 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Juan Mabromata        (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

Wafa Media Foundation, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) group, have released a poster threatening to bring terror to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia that features an image of Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi crying blood.

SITE Intel Group relayed the image on Twitter:

SITE Intel Group @siteintelgroup

Pro-#ISIS media unit Wafa' Foundation continues to threaten 2018 FIFA #WorldCup, this time using an image of #LionelMessi in a prison outfit https://t.co/isB8RDKYAK

The image features the tagline "Just Terrorism" underneath the image of Messi, who is depicted behind jail bars and wearing a jump suit with his name on it. 

The poster also delivers a warning that "you are fighting a state that does not have failure in its dictionary."

As noted by Marissa Payne of the Washington Post, this is not the first piece of ISIS propaganda making reference to the World Cup. 

Others have showed the tournament logo exploding into two pieces accompanied by phrases that include "we are the one who chooses the battlefield" and "I swear that the mujahideen's fire will burn you, just you wait." 

SITE's Rita Katz provided further details:

Rita Katz @Rita_Katz

#FIFA18 a recurring topic among #ISIS supporters, w chatter & graphics threatening "enemies of Allah in #Russia" https://t.co/MfmbizGUyg https://t.co/CqoEROGfjB

Per Payne, the terrorist group also made threats to both the 2016 UEFA European Championship and the 2017 Women's UEFA European Championship, though both tournaments passed without any attacks.

The World Cup is scheduled to begin on June 14 next summer, with 12 stadiums and 11 different cities to host matches. The final will take place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15.