Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar and Barcelona star Lionel Messi have been depicted in new Islamic State (ISIS) propaganda threatening the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
As noted by AS, the latest threat includes a photoshopped image of Neymar awaiting execution by a jihadist. Messi can be seen lying on the ground next to an ISIS flag. The caption on the image reads "you will not enjoy security until we live it in Muslim countries."
The image is the latest in a line of threats made against the competition in Russia. A picture of Messi crying blood was released by the Wafa Media Foundation, a pro-ISIS organisation, earlier in the week with the tagline "Just Terrorism," per Marissa Payne of the Washington Post.
Neymar and Messi are both set to be two of the stars of the tournament, having qualified with Brazil and Argentina, respectively.
The threats against Messi have been taken seriously by the Argentina Football Association, with Andrew Gilpin of the Daily Mirror reporting that the organisation’s president, Claudio Tapia, has met with the Russian ambassador to discuss safety measures.
As noted by Gilpin, France manager Didier Deschamps was also included in a mocked-up image, with a jihadist holding a gun to his head. "We will continue to terrorise you and ruin your life," read the accompanying message, while Deschamps was labelled an "enemy of Allah."
In the previous report, it’s noted that a string of threats has been made by the terrorist organisation against the competition, including images of the competition logo exploding. Rita Katz of SITE relayed some of them:
The competition is set to start on June 14 next summer and run until July 15, when the final will be held in Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium. There are 11 host cities in Russia, with matches to be played at 12 different stadiums.