Vladimir Putin plays football with Gianni Infantino 100 days before the World Cup

Russian president Vladimir Putin hosted FIFA president in the Kremlin and even had a kickabout to mark 100 days until the World Cup. (Screenshot)
Updated 06 March 2018
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Vladimir Putin plays football with Gianni Infantino 100 days before the World Cup

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin played football with FIFA boss Gianni Infantino in the Kremlin on Tuesday as a festive Russia marked 100 days before the start of the World Cup.
The footage from Putin’s reception office was released by football’s world governing body in a tweet featuring legends of the beautiful game juggling the ball and doing tricks.
The clip ended with Putin heading one back to Infantino after a heavily edited kickabout set to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee.
“Some people just can’t wait for the greatest show on earth,” FIFA said in the tweet.
Others playing around with the official Telstar 18 World Cup ball included ex-England midfielder Wayne Rooney and Argentina’s Diego Maradona.
Brazil’s Ronaldo juggled by the beach while Sweden’s Thomas Brolin had his fun in the snow.

Putin is known for his sporting prowess, taking part in Judo matches, skating, diving and playing ice hockey.
A judo black belt and all round sports fan he is hoping to use the World Cup to showcase Russia and boost its image at a time of fraid relations with the West.
Russia is hosting its first World Cup on June 14-July 15 in 11 host cities stretching from its western exclave of Kaliningrad near Poland to Yekaterinburg in the Urals.
Numerous Russian cities are planning events to commemorate 100 days before the start of the 32 team tournament.
Moscow is staging an open air concert for 6,000 volunteers while Russia’s northern capital Saint Petersburg is unveiling a countdown clock.
“It is important to show Russia the way it really is: open, hospitable and modern,” Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov was quoted as saying on Tuesday by RIA Novosti.
Russia’s preparations for the showpiece event are going largely according to schedule but still being clouded by scandal and global disputes.
Fan violence that made Russians infamous at the Euro 2016 in France returned last month during a Europa League match in Spain between Spartak Moscow and Athletic Bilbao.
Organizers hope the February 22 insident in which a handful of Russians were arrested and a policeman died of a heart attack does not frighten away global fans.
Tensions with the West have been compounded by the ignomy of Russians being forced to perform under a neutral Olympic flag at the Winter Games in Pyongyang over doping allegations.
But Russian national team coach Stanislav Cherchesov said he hoped the World Cup would improve people’s attitude toward his country.
“The most important thing is to come to Russia with an open heart and to try to understand our country and the places you are visiting,” Cherchesov said in an interview released by FIFA.
“As we say in Russia, better to see something once than to hear about it a hundred times.”
The tournament kicks of when Russia hosts Saudi Arabia in Moscow’s renovated Luzhniki Stadium on June 14.


‘It’s epic’: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal stars tour incredible Ad Diriyah E Prix venue

Al-Nassr’s Nigerian superstar Ahmed Musa (back right) joins (front left to right) Al-Hilal’s Ali Al-Habsi and Mohammad Jahfali and (back left) Saleh Alweheemed ahead of this weekend’s 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 10 December 2018
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‘It’s epic’: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal stars tour incredible Ad Diriyah E Prix venue

  • 22 Formula E drivers will battle it out for glory this weekend
  • "I’m very happy to see how Saudi Arabia is becoming a rising name for big sports"

JEDDAH: They may be fierce rivals in the Saudi Pro League, but some of the biggest stars of Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr football got together to tour the venue of one of the most anticipated motor racing events in Saudi history.
The players soaked up the atmosphere as they visited the home of the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix.
This weekend the 2.495km track created within the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah will see 22 Formula E drivers battle it out for glory.
Goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi said: “I’m totally amazed by what they have built here, the track, the grandstands, the hospitality, it’s incredible what they’ve created for the Formula E.  It’s epic.
“As a professional athlete I’m very happy to see how Saudi Arabia is becoming a rising name for big sports, this will be a fiercely fought contest which is sure to thrill the fans.”

 (Left to right) Al Hilal star players Alberto Botia, Abdullah Almaiouf, Mohammad Jahfali, Ali Al-Habsi and Carlos Eduardo visit the new Formula E track at the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah. (Photo/Supplied)

The racing extravaganza will also be accompanied by fan zones, entertainment and cultural attractions.
Three nights of music concerts will feature some of the biggest names in world. 
US smash hit OneRepublic and superstar DJ/producer David Guetta will wrap up the event after the race ends on Saturday with Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo and Amr Diab performing from Thursday.
Al Nassr’s Nigerian superstar Ahmed Mussa said: “We’re all about entertaining fans and bringing people together, that’s what football and sport is all about. These three nights will be a spectacle like nothing we’ve seen before and I urge our fans to come and be part of history.”