If Barcelona's Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi ever get to Saransk, one of 11 host venues for the 2018 soccer World Cup in Russia, they will find their namesakes playing already in the local zoo.
Officials said on Friday that three new-born pumas at the zoo had been named after Barcelona's Uruguayan, Brazilian and Argentine attacking trio.
"Perhaps we will be able to see them (the Barcelona players) play in Saransk in 2018," hoped Alexei Pleshachkov, the director of the local organising committee. Saransk will have four matches at the group stage.
Zoo director Pavel Kshnyaykin said the pumas would have their own special enclosure to play in and revealed plans to 'teach' some of the other animals to predict results.
"Maybe this could be a porcupine or perhaps even a calm and clever raccoon," he said.
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