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Meeting with the legends of world football

Vladimir Putin received in the Kremlin the stars of world football.

At a meeting with Russian head of state invited to the best player of the world Cup 2010 in the national team of Uruguay Diego Forlan, world champion 1990 in the national team for Germany's Lothar Matthaus, the European champion in 1988 in the team of the Netherlands, Marco van Basten, six-time winner of the championship of England football, the winner of UEFA Champions League 2008 Rio Ferdinand, European champion of 1992 in the national team of Denmark's Peter Schmeichel, winner of the Confederations Cup 1999 in the national team of Mexico Jorge Campos bronze medalist at the 1998 world Cup in Croatia Zvonimir Boban, silver medalist of European championship 2009-women's football in the England, the UEFA Cup winner 2007 among women Alexander Scott, and the Olympic champion in football in 1956, honored master of sports of the USSR, honored coach of the USSR, first Vice-President of Russian football Union Nikita Simonyan.

the meeting was attended by the President of the International Federation of football associations (FIFA), Gianni Infantino, and presidential aide Igor Levitin.

* * *

Vladimir Putin: Mr Infantino! Dear friends!

Let me welcome you all to the Moscow Kremlin.

First of all, I want to Express my gratitude to the FIFA President that he invited you to Russia for the FIFA world Cup in football. I think that is a very good tradition can be laid for the future, because you, as people who are known not only in the world of football, but all sports enthusiasts in their countries and the world in General, – you pretty much personify this wonderful sport, football. This is the first.

Second, when people see you in the stands, people see how you communicate with your teams, with fans from their countries and from other countries is, of course, not only inspiring to yourself to engage in physical culture and sports, but also creates a special atmosphere of celebration and confidence.

In this regard, I would like to note that fans from many countries of the world – we, of course, and try, but the fans from many countries, and the Russian fans, first and foremost, is the people who create this atmosphere of trust and celebration.

Many of them, as you know, moved around the country quite actively. Tens of thousands of people came to Russia from different parts of the world, it is tens of thousands. They create this wonderful festive atmosphere in Russia.

of Course, they see with their own eyes how welcome they received here, how happy the citizens of our country, sports fans and just people, even far from football – we are glad that so many people came to Russia with such good intentions.

In this regard, I would like to point out that the so-called national journalists, those people who work from themselves, in their personal capacity on social networks, contributed to the fact that many stereotypes about Russia just collapsed. The people see that Russia is a hospitable country, friendly-minded to those who come to us. Of course, this is largely created by the efforts of our football fans.

Okay, we all know that fans in many countries behave differently, I am not going to comment on anything. But our football fans perceive those who came to cheer on their team, as friends, as people from the General, extended football family. So I try to do everything to make our guests feel, as we have repeatedly said, at home in Russia, got acquainted with our culture, traditions, and traditions of different peoples of Russia, since the matches of the football championship are held in different cities and in different regions of the Russian Federation. I am sure that the vast majority of those who came to see us, take the good feelings and memories about our country and again come back here.

the championship (as far as I know, not being an expert on football, but being a man who loves this great game) is, I think, very well, on a high note, a lot of surprises. In fact, this is the beauty of sport, of wrestling: the strongest always wins – because as a trained team, because the coaching staff chose the tactics, what tactics were used against the opponent. The unpredictability makes this game so wonderful and so interesting in which are in love with really millions of people throughout the world.

of the 32 teams have only eight. You, world class experts, and, when the press leaves, share with me those who, in your opinion, will the winner of the Cup this year.

But there is another component of this superiority, as well as any, in fact, the world Cup is an incredible positive momentum in the development of sport in General and football in particular.

In our country, as you can see, I love football. We put a lot of effort and have invested heavily in the construction of infrastructure for the development of football. And I'm sure at the time, the choice of Russia as a country that organizes the world Cup, was very good, and we are grateful for the leadership of FIFA, to everyone who voted for our country. Because for us it is not just the development of football, for us it is the development of mass sport (and football is one of the most popular sports), precisely in order to attract especially young people to the values of physical culture, to the values of sport so that they are not doing what destroys them, but rather perfecting themselves physically and spiritually.

We special attention will be paid to the development of football heritage. Soon after the championship, we will gather with all those who we involved in the organization of physical culture, with all of those who were engaged in the construction and operation of these sports facilities and sports infrastructure in General and will prepare a plan created, use sports, engineering and transport infrastructure for the development of physical culture in the country.

I Want to thank you for what you came to Russia. Thank you for what you take part in this wonderful event.

And give the floor to Mr Infantino. Please, Gianni.

George.Infantino (In Russian.) : Thank you.

(As translated.) Thank you very much, Mr President Vladimir Putin.

Briefly, in just a few words.

I Want to thank You for what You have today invited the. Here gathered football legends who really wrote is so emotional, very important pages in the history of football – the sport that love really hundreds of millions, even billions of people around the world.

I am particularly happy that we are here today and we all today are in Russia, not only today, but in the course of this month, since Russia is a huge country, the most important country for the world.

I Think that two things happened at this world Cup. First, Russia has become a genuinely football country, and after the game between Russia and Spain, after Russia took place in the quarterfinals, the virus of football has spread throughout the country. This virus enters the body, in soul, in the hearts of all Russians – from North to South, from West to East across the country, since we have seen a wonderful celebration as the people celebrated this victory.

This passion for football in Russia together with what You already noted: in addition to issues of infrastructure, construction and use of stadiums (absolutely wonderful 12 stadiums, and other stadiums that are not used in the world Cup) – all this, of course, very important and shows what can be done for football and for the whole country.

the plan that you have not only organizing the event but also in the use of this football, infrastructure and heritage, is all very important and wonderful. Another important element, in addition to infrastructure, airports, stadia, transport and so on, is a passion, a passion for football. And now Russia is truly a football nation. This is the first important thing that happened during this world Cup.

the Second important thing is that we all fell in love with Russia. We all came here, spent some time, and here we saw a country that makes a lot.

You are talking about stereotypes: Yes, it is true, perhaps they were.

But when a man comes here when he's here for some time, when he meets the people who live here, when he sees Moscow, for example, the absolutely inexpressible beauty, as is happening now, when he sees all the colors, all the people who come to take part in world championship matches when he sees fans from various countries who paint their face in the colors of the national flag, how those fans celebrate along with the Russians, see the whole atmosphere, he can't not fall in love with the country. He sees what Russia is doing for this world Cup. All those, who come here, who visits this country, and all those who live football in Russia, all they can see what wonderful work has been done, including and thanks to Your contribution, and the contribution of the entire population of Russia.

told Me that the police in red square now smiling constantly, when they are asked some information, please help, they are very friendly behave. That's great, that's exactly what will be the new Russia, a new image of Russia.

So thank You, thank you to all the Russian people, who so warmly takes us here. We absolutely enjoy. I feel like a kid in a toy store, I just don't know how to explain it. And besides, we see a wonderful game, a wonderful football teams, and the whole world is enjoying this game.

Thank You from me on behalf of FIFA, on behalf of the entire football world and on behalf of all the legends who are here today. Thank you very much.

Lothar, You're half Russian, so, please.

L. Matthaus: Yeah, I have Russian roots. I was in Moscow before the world Championships in 1979, and I saw the national German team at the red square. And I already saw that it is possible to play football on the red square, it was absolutely wonderful.

Russia, Moscow has changed a lot over the last 15-20 years. Now there are a lot of wonderful places, including historical. I like Moscow, not only because of football, I love Moscow because it's a beautiful international city, I feel at home here – not only because of his wife, not only because of my personal relations with Moscow. I always come to Moscow with a smile, because I know that I will see: I will see here beautiful, wonderful people.

the world Cup is very special for Russia. And I know that the Russians may not have been happy in the last 10-15 years of his national football team, but now we see how the national team is loved by the Russians.

I took part in ten world Championships: five as a player and five as a football functionary, and I can say that this is the best world Cup, which was organized for the last time.

thank You very much, Mr. President.