Three international stars will thrill the fans in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, just a few moments before Russia and Saudi Arabia kick off the 2018 FIFA World Cup on 14 June, the FIFA press service said in a statement on Monday.
“Global music icon Robbie Williams will entertain the stadium crowd and the millions watching around the world, with celebrated Russian soprano Aida Garifullina joining him during the musical extravaganza. The football glory that all players will be hoping to achieve on Russian soil will be represented by Brazil’s two-time FIFA World Cup champion Ronaldo,” the statement said.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 cities across Russia.
“I’m so happy and excited to be going back to Russia for such a unique performance. I’ve done a lot in my career, and opening the FIFA World Cup to 80,000 football fans in the stadium and many millions all over the world is a boyhood dream,” Robbie Williams was quoted as saying.
“I never imagined I would be part of this huge celebration, the World Cup, happening in my own country,” Aida Garifullina was quoted as saying. “And, on 15 July, we will find out for whom this precious dream will come true, back on the same stage, after a month-long festival of football in Russia,” the soloist from the Vienna State Opera said.
“The opening match is always a very symbolic one – it is that instant when you realize that the big moment you, as a player or fan, have been waiting for four years has finally arrived. No one knows what will happen in the four weeks of the tournament, but everyone is sure that it will be memorable,” Ronaldo said. “Of course it is also an emotional one for the hosts. After so much hard work, suddenly the whole world is gathered in your backyard to celebrate their love for football. I felt that in Brazil four years ago and I am now happy to share this excitement with the Russians as well,” the Brazilian football icon was quoted as saying.
Russia’s Channel One will produce the show, and the creative concept will be developed by Felix Mikhailov, who directed the main ceremonies held throughout the entire 2018 FIFA World Cup journey.