Ballet, football and Brazilian legend Ronaldo featured in the closing ceremony of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia ahead of the final between Germany and Chile in St. Petersburg on Sunday.
The organizers turned the ceremony into a carnival procession, with 1,500 actors, musicians and dancers from across Russia participating.
The crowd at Krestovsky Stadium witnessed classic and modern dances, pantomime, elements of circus performance and hip-hop.
The whole show was centered around the clock at the iconic Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, which had its hands moving anti-clockwise to invite the audience on a journey into the past.
The clock stopped in the late 19th century, when the world-famous “Swan Lake” ballet was first staged at the city’s Mariinsky Theater.
Russian ballet stars, including Nikolay Tsiskaridze, appeared on the pitch to reenact the historic moment.
Around the same period, in 1897, St. Pete hosted the first ever football game in Russia, which was presented by two former national team players, Aleksey Smertin and Aleksandr Kerzhakov.
Then the giant dolls decorated in the colors of the national flags started the parade of Confederations Cup Champions.
Each country to win the tournament – Denmark, Argentina, Brazil (4 times), France (2 times) and Mexico – was represented by a special piece performed by the dancers.
There was the Argentinean tango, a Danish folk dance, a song by France’s Edith Piaf, sombrero-wearing El Mariachis and, of course, the famous Rio Carnival.
Football legend Ronaldo was the star of the ceremony, and he walked down the red carpet and placed the tournament’s trophy on the pedestal.
The Brazilian, who was FIFA World Player of the Year on three occasions, has lifted the World Cup twice, and also has the 1997 Confederations Cup title in his trophy cabinet.
The show was concluded by Russian pop artists Polina Gagarina, Egor Kreed and DJ Smash, performing a song dedicated to the volunteers of the Confederations Cup.
A total of 6,000 volunteers took part in preparing and staging the Confederations Cup, which was held in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi and Kazan between June 17 and July 2.
Sunday’s final, which was won by Germany 1-0 against Chile, was in effect Russia’s dress rehearsal for the FIFA World Cup the country hosts next year.