by Yair Frid, September 4, 2018
The World Cup brought more than football to Russia, it brought art to the hosting cities. There was a bloom of graffiti that pictured not only players but also traditional symbols from Russia and memorable occurrences from the 2018 World Cup.
Probably the two most iconic pieces were the faces of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, which were painted in Kazan. Both were painted by the artist Naberezhnye Chelny and they the portrait were painted with vibrant colours. Unfortunately for Messi, he had to see his rival every morning as the Argentinian team stayed at the Ramada hotel, which faces the multi-coloured mural of a winking Ronaldo. Later, artists from the SuperNovaNet team painted Lionel’s face too on the same hotel. As the matches continued and the popularity that players like Luka Modric from the Croatia team gained, the Ramadan hotel also paid tribute to this player. Neymar also had his mural painted in central Kazan.
Other players had their tributes too, including the Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev who was named the Man of the Match when the Russian team played against Spain. The mural appeared on a sports complex in a town outside Moscow called Shchyolkovo.
But not only players had their faces on murals, the Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov appeared on a city intersection in St. Petersburg after he managed to take the Russian team to the second round for the first time in 32 years. The local artist who painted it, Artyom Burzh, said that he had to do it after it was a big surprise because the national team was expected to fail.
The fever for the football related graffiti even brought international artists to the country to paint murals. An example of this was the Argentinian street artist Martin Ron who depicted an Australian 10-year-old kid called Harry Lebrun in a red jersey. The mural has been seen by thousands of spectators of the World Cup because it was painted close to the Luzhniki Stadium, the main one used at the tournament. Another mural by the same artist included the Avengers playing football with a girl.
Without a doubt these displays of street art should be covered with a protective coat in order to avoid alterations or even tags, as these kinds of protections avoid any material to be damaged by unwanted graffiti.