‘We are with them’ – Ruben Neves throws support behind rainbow flag protestor at World Cup

Mario Ferri World Cup Credit: Alamy
Mario Ferri World Cup Credit: Alamy

Ruben Neves has thrown his support behind the protestor who ran on to the pitch during Portugal’s clash with Uruguay on Monday.

The Group H clash was interupted in the second half by Mario Ferri, who wore a t-shirt with ‘Save Ukraine’ on the front and ‘Respect Iranian Women’ on the back and brandished a rainbow flag.

Ferri was looking to shed light on a World Cup dominated by wider issues, including Qatar’s treatment of the LGBTQ+ community and anti-government demonstrations in Iran.

And Neves said after the game that he was in full support of Ferri and the causes he was fighting for.

“We know what has happened around this World Cup. It is a normal thing that can happen,” he said.

“Of course, we are all with them and the message on his shirt as well. We hope nothing happens to the boy because we understand his message and I think all the world understood it as well.”

Known as ‘The Falcon’, Ferri is an Italian footballer who plays for Indian second-division side United Sports Club.

He has invaded the pitch on several occasions to highlight social issues and has recently been working in Ukraine to get refugees to safety in Poland.

He revealed earlier this year that he felt the need to do something when Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

He told CBS Sport: “I do it on my own. I pay for everything and I want nothing back. I almost had a fight the other day because I saw a man asking money for doing what I do. It’s unacceptable, people are desperate here and there are few that want to make a business out of it.

“I go to Lviv, look for people that need help and I drive for five, 10, 15 hours. Lviv is like a harbor for Ukrainians who want to leave the country.

“Outside the country [in Poland especially] is full of people that are helping, but inside Ukraine many are worried that something can happen to them.”

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