KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - As Russia puts the finishing touches to the carefully manicured fields that will host the World Cup from next week, people around the globe are playing soccer on a surprising variety of makeshift pitches.
Off the coast of an island in southern Thailand, they play on a floating platform; in the mountains of northern Italy, they kick about in the snow - images captured by Reuters photographers around the world.
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On a dusty Kolkata street, painted with a 2018 World Cup logo, Indian schoolchildren brave the traffic for a barefoot game.
“We play when we get time and whenever the road is empty,” Papan Mallick, 13, told Reuters.
He is a fan of Argentina’s Lionel Messi, while 12-year-old Suchan Pakre worships Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo. They will both be watching the action in Russia that kicks off on June 14.
As will Lorenzo Richetto, who uses skis for goalposts as he enjoys a match on the snow with his friends at the Italian ski resort of Sestriere.
“I would like to emulate Messi but playing with ski boots, I will be more likely to emulate the former ski champion Alberto Tomba,” Richetto, 46, told Reuters.
Writing by Emilia Sierzputowska. Editing by Patrick Johnston and Robin Pomeroy, Larry King