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.


Arsenal, Chelsea win in Europa League as Rangers hold Villarreal

Aubameyang opened the scoring in London after 32 minutes of the Group E encounter. (Reuters)
Updated 21 September 2018
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Arsenal, Chelsea win in Europa League as Rangers hold Villarreal

  • I think we played well in the first half and in the beginning of the second as well: Aubameyang
  • Chelsea made a winning start to their Group L campaign as Willian's seventh-minute effort was enough to see off PAOK

PARIS: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice as Arsenal defeated Ukraine's Vorskla Poltava 4-2 in the Europa League on Thursday, while in-form Chelsea began their campaign with a 1-0 win away to PAOK in Greece.
Aubameyang has struggled to hit top gear in the Premier League so far with just one goal in five starts, but the Gabon striker opened the scoring in London after 32 minutes of the Group E encounter.
Danny Welbeck nodded in a second just after half-time and Aubameyang curled in the Gunners' third, with Mesut Ozil also on target before a lapse in concentration saw Vorskla hit back with two late goals.
"I think we played well in the first half and in the beginning of the second as well," Aubameyang told BT Sport.
"We have to improve and try to fight not to concede a goal like we did in the last minute."
Premier League leaders Chelsea made a winning start to their Group L campaign as Willian's seventh-minute effort was enough to see off PAOK at a hostile Toumba Stadium.
Eden Hazard was omitted from the Chelsea squad at his own request due to fatigue, but manager Maurizio Sarri fielded a strong side as the Blues extended their winning run to six games in all competitions.
"We were in control of the match for 90 minutes. We had a lot of opportunities. We missed them and so I'm very happy with the three points, very happy with the performance, but not very happy with the result," said Sarri.
"When it's time to kill the match, we have to kill the match."
Steven Gerrard's Rangers acquitted themselves well on their first appearance in the group stage of a European competition since the 2010-11 Champions League, as they came away with a 2-2 draw against Villarreal.
A disastrous start for the Glasgow side saw Carlos Bacca fire Villarreal ahead inside 60 seconds, but Scott Arfield turned home a cross from Daniel Candeias to level on 67 minutes.
Gerard Moreno put the hosts back in front almost immediately, only for Kyle Lafferty to again hit back for Rangers as Gerrard's men made a solid start in Group G.
Leigh Griffiths hit a late winner for Celtic in a 1-0 home victory over Rosenborg, a team Brendan Rodgers' side knocked out in this season's Champions League qualifying rounds.
Salzburg triumphed in the clash of Red Bulls in the other Group B fixture as Fredrik Gulbrandsen scored a minute from time to give the Austrian club a 3-2 victory over RB Leipzig.
Marseille, last season's runners-up, slumped to a 2-1 home defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt in Group H as Luka Jovic grabbed an 89th-minute winner for the reigning German Cup champions.
Lucas Ocampos opened the scoring early for Marseille, who were playing behind closed doors at the Stade Velodrome after numerous crowd incidents last season.
But Lucas Torro levelled on 52 minutes for Eintracht before Jovic's late strike won it.
Dudelange, the first Luxembourg team to play in the Europa League group stage, made seven-time European champions AC Milan work hard for a 1-0 win in Group F.
Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were in the crowd as Dudelange, who have a dozen non-professional players in their squad, succumbed to a deflected second-half goal by Gonzalo Higuain.
Record five-time winners Sevilla launched their Group J campaign with a 5-1 rout of Standard Liege, as Ever Banega and Wissam Ben Yedder both netted twice for the Spaniards.