The Pride flag World Cup invader is a footballer with form

Portugal - Uruguay: Group H - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Ferri currently plays football in the Italian second tier (Image: Getty)

A protester who ran onto the pitch during a World Cup match is an Italian soccer player with a history of pitch invasions.

Mario Ferri, 35 – is currently under contract with Italy’s second division side United Sports Club and has already performed stunts, according to CBS.

Nicknamed “Il Falco” (The Falcon), he hails from Pescara, near the Adriatic Sea. In February last year he fled to Poland to help refugees from Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

In October 2010, Ferri made headlines and was even invited to an Italian talk show after interrupting the game during the Champions League clash between Real Madrid and AC Milan.

He was arrested in Abu Dhabi on Christmas Day after running onto the pitch during the Club World Cup final between Inter Milan and Congolese club Mazembe, dressed in his signature Superman t-shirt with the added slogan ‘Free Sakineh’. a reference to the Iranian woman at risk of being stoned to death.

Portugal vs Uruguay: FIFA World Cup 2022

Ferri wore a t-shirt that read ‘Save Ukraine’ and a Pride flag as he rushed onto the pitch (Picture: Getty)

Ferri is known as

Ferri is known as “The Falcon” to those following his protests (Image: Instagram)

He has conducted protests in the square in the past (Image: Instagram)

He has conducted protests in the square in the past (Image: Instagram)

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He made the mistake of announcing his plan on Facebook, telling his followers: “I hope they don’t catch me or I’ll be in a bunch of trouble.”

At the time, he was under house arrest in Italy thanks to a series of pitch invasions that began during Naples’ trip to Sampdoria.

He cleverly disguised himself as a steward before jumping over the gangs with the inscription “Cassano in Nazionale” to select Antonio Cassano for a message to the Italian national leader Marcello Lippi.

Ferri was even escorted off the pitch by Cassano himself, with the former striker telling officials: “He’s a good boy, I vouch for him.”

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And like clockwork, Ferri showed up at the World Cup in South Africa to conquer the pitch in the semi-final match between Spain and Germany. Italy – without Cassano – were humiliatingly eliminated in the group stage, prompting Ferri to keep running and waving a vuvuzela while wearing a T-shirt that read ‘Lippi, I told you so’.

Ferri also showed up at the next World Cup, this time in Brazil.

During the group game between Belgium and USA in 2014, he stormed the field and once again wore his Superman T-shirt with the words “Save Favelas Children”.

He reappeared in 2017 when Napoli hosted Juventus in April 2017.

Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain was approached by Ferri on his return to Napoli after leaving for his Serie A rivals under controversial circumstances.

And then came the incident in Qatar where the game was stopped during the clash between Portugal and Uruguay minutes before Bruno Fernandes gave his side the lead midway through the second half.

Ferri not only held up a rainbow flag, but his t-shirt had two messages; “Save Ukraine” on the front and “Respect For Iranian Women” on the back.

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Justin Scacco

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