A Spanish football fan who was attempting to travel 4,300 miles to Qatar on foot has allegedly been reported missing.
Spanish national Santiago Sánchez Cogedor has allegedly gone missing during his journey from Madrid to Doha on foot.
The football fan was reportedly just one country away from arriving in Qatar before going missing. He began his trip in January earlier this year with the hope of arriving in the Gulf state in time for the tournament’s opening ceremony on November 20.
However, Cogedor’s family, friends, and thousands of his social media followers said they stopped receiving updates from him after October 2, which was unusual from the vlogger who would post daily updates of his trip.
His last post on Instagram was on October 1 in the last village in northern Iraq where he was seen playing football with kids and eating food with a local family.
He reportedly last shared a photo of himself close to the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran, which is thought to be the location of his disappearance.
“Last village in the north of Iraq. A mountain separates me from Iran which is the next country before I reach Qatar,” his last post read.
A representative for the family and one of his closest friends told local media that he shared his location with his group of friends every day, with the most recent message being sent on October 2 at 12:30 Spain time.
“The last time I spoke with him was on October 1,” Miguel Bergado, the friend, told the press. “He sent me his location and he was in Iraqi Kurdistan, five kilometres from the border with Iran.”
Fears have been growing for the 40-year-old’s safety as days pass without any updates on his well-being. Those close to him are assuming that the hiker may have gotten detained in Iran amidst the political unrest in the country.
“My feeling is that because of the political issue they could have retained him in Iran for being a foreigner,” Bergado added.
“The Spanish embassy in Iran says some have been detained for taking photos of the unrest and maybe it’s been because of that.”
The former paratrooper had already travelled across five nations on his most recent endurance test and had previously cycled to Saudi Arabia to witness his favourite football club Real Madrid play.
For his World Cup journey, Cogedor started walking from Alcala de Henares to Qatar on January 8 and frequently updated his social media profiles with videos and photos.
“I don’t measure my trips in terms of kilometres but in the families I get to know,” Cogedor had previously said about his trip.
“It’s not 7,000 kilometres from Madrid to Qatar but the people and their stories.”
Local media stated that the Spanish fan opted to enter Iran after deciding against entering Saudi Arabia. However, he has not been seen yet.
According to reports, the Spanish Embassy in Iran is working with Iranian officials to find the former paratrooper.