THE 2014 World Cup mascot is being held for ransom by former mascots Pique the jalapeno and Gauchito.
Pique and Gauchito, mascots of the 1986 Cup in Mexico and 1978 in Argentina respectively, were filmed bundling armadillo Fuleco into an unmarked van before driving away.
Pique, who still wears his trademark sombrero, moved into the export industry after 1986 and built a small business into the feared Los Huachinangos, one of Mexico’s most powerful cocaine cartels.
Gauchito rebelled against the military junta ruling Argentina in 1976 and retreated into the Andes, from where he has fought a guerrila war for socialism ever since.
The pair, both bitter about being forgotten by their countries, have demanded $100,000,000 for the armadillo’s safe return, accompanied by video of him denouncing his corporate paymasters Coca-Cola while nervously glancing off-camera.
Fuleco is not the first World Cup mascot to be kidnapped. Naranjito the orange vanished two years after the World Cup in Spain in 1982, with rumours that the segments of his body that weren’t posted to government officials are in the foundations of a Costa del Sol hotel.
And World Cup Willy, England’s mascot in 1966, famously faked his own kidnapping with the aid of canine accomplice Pickles in an attempt to extort £100,000 from the Queen.
Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, said: We have already lost Neymar. Beginning our semi-final with Fuleco’s head on a pole in the centre-circle would fatally damage team morale.