FIFA World Cup 2022: This Fan Was Walking From Spain To Qatar, But Can’t Be Seen Now

A Spanish man who was traveling from Madrid to Doha, Qatar, for the 2022 World Cup has not been heard from since the day after he crossed into Iran three weeks prior. This is as per his family who revealed it on Monday October 24.

Santiago Sanchez, an accomplished traveler, former soldier and intense football fan, was most recently seen in Iraq in the wake of climbing through 15 nations and sharing his journey on Instagram account throughout the course of recent months.

The 41-year-old had recently said his expectation for his trekking to Qatar was to figure out how others lived before arriving at the main World Cup host country in the Bedouin world, in time for Spain’s first match on November 23.

“The idea of the journey is to motivate and inspire other people to show that they can go very far with very little,” he told the AP from Sulaymaniyah, a Kurdish city in northeastern Iraq.

Sanchez’s family last heard from him in a sound message on October 2, a day after he crossed the Iraq-Iran boarder. He planned to go to the Iran’s capital, Tehran, where a TV channel wanted to interview him. His next stop would have been Bandar Abbas, a port in southern Iran, where he would make a trip by boat to Qatar.

Meanwhile, according to Sanchez’s mom, they (mom and dad) are very stressed, and can’t stop crying.

Sanchez’s parents reported him missing on October 17, and they said Spain’s police and diplomats were helping the family.

“We Are Proud To Make It To This Year’s World Cup”

“After a few days, we didn’t worry about him not posting; it matched what he had said. But after eight or nine days, my daughter and his closest friends … we already began to think that we had to report his disappearance,” his mother said.

Spain’s Foreign Ministry said it had no information about Sanchez’s whereabouts, adding that the Spanish ambassador to Tehran was handling the matter. Calls to the Iranian Foreign Ministry seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Sanchez previously spent time in Iran in 2019, when he biked a similar route to get from Madrid to Saudi Arabia.

“He has not been making propaganda, neither for nor against any situation,” his parents added. “The only thing that moves him is supporting Real Madrid — and walking to get on time to the World Cup in Qatar.”

Credit: ESPN

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