After Argentine football legend Lionel Messi missed a penalty against Iceland, Kolkata Police created a meme out of it to promote the West Bengal government's 'Safe Drive Save Life' initiative for better traffic measures. The meme, with an English caption "You'll never miss a penalty. We won't let you!" and Bengali caption "sob penalty miss hoi na!" (All penalties are not missed!), has created a stir on the social media.
The meme captures Messi's moment of despair against newbie Iceland as he failed to convert from the spot in the June 16 Group D game at the FIFA World Cup 2018. Side by side, there is an image of a traffic sergeant issuing a fine to penalise a helmet-less biker with a funny caption.
The post has already received 5,500 reactions and has been shared over 2,400 times so far since it was uploaded on Kolkata Police's Facebook page on Friday evening.
While a section of social media users were impressed by the punning and termed it as one of Kolkata Police's best campaigns ever, some others, mainly comprising Argentina and Messi fans, dubbed it 'shameful' and accused the police of trolling one of the best players in world football.
Chattaraj Lionel Abir, a Messi fan, questioned how the lawmakers can troll a legend while another Facebook user, with the image of the Argentine star as his display picture, hinted that police might be getting such meme ideas from a troll they have recently arrested.
"You people cannot punish the offenders but can easily make fun of a player like Messi. How shameful," wrote a netizen.
In order to counter their hero's humiliation, some Facebook users have also came up with videos of Messi's fierce rival Christiano Rolando missing a penalty.
"Some penalties are awarded to those who illegally dive on the pitch and resort to play acting," wrote Sagnik Jha.
However, many have appreciated the cops' sense of humour, saying they have successfully used a hot topic like the World Cup to spread mass awareness.
"The witty meme by Kolkata Police is innovative and effective. Their message of mass awareness would successfully reach more people amid the ongoing World Cup fever. This should be appreciated," noted Facebook user Mainak Debnath.
"Really amazing post. Thanks to Kolkata Police. It is good to see you haven't lost your sense of humour under so much work pressure. Inspiring," wrote a woman.
(With IANS inputs)