'Man United fans hugged me & begged me not to leave' – Russia 2018 ambassador Lopyreva (PHOTOS)
Lopyreva travelled to watch the Reds’ Premier League opener against West Ham on Sunday, which they won 4-0 thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, and record signing Paul Pogba.
Following the impressive result, United fans took to the former model and television presenter and Miss Russia 2003 winner as a lucky charm and implored the blonde not to leave Manchester.
“I came to attend the match vs West Ham on an official invite from Manchester United as a World Cup 2018 ambassador,” Lopyreva explained in an interview with Championat.
“The club management invited me, apparently, after the good impression left following their visit to Rostov-on-Don (for the FC Rostov vs. Manchester United UEFA Europa League tie) when our city gave them a really hospitable welcome.
“Now fans from all over the world invite me to attend their home games, they think I bring them luck. Yesterday, Man United fans hugged me and begged me not to leave,” the 34-year-old added.
A native of Rostov-on-Don, Lopyreva was chosen as official representative of the Southern Russian city to promote its image in the lead-up to World Cup Russia 2018 next summer.
During the first leg of last season’s Europa league tie between the two clubs in Russia in March, travelling United fans were presented with a ‘Warm Welcome’ of blankets, a notion supported by Lopyreva, who also organized a media tour for journalists and an English-language legal hotline for supporters.
United, who count Russian airline Aeroflot as their official club carrier, went on to win the tie 2-1 on aggregate and eventually won the Europa League trophy by beating Ajax 2-0 in the final in Stockholm.
But following the impeccable hospitality provided in Rostov, United reciprocated the gesture by inviting Lopyreva to experience a matchday at the famed ‘Theatre of Dreams,’ an offer she says she “simply couldn’t turn down.”
Lopyreva posted a series of pictures and videos on Twitter detailing her visit, which included a pre-match tour of the club’s trophy cabinet and dressing room, where Lopyreva even tried on a United shirt and delivered a speech from the press conference room.
“So here we are from Manchester United stadium Old Trafford I’m super excited to be here and I’m looking forward to attending the game of Manchester United tomorrow. And you guys have to win!” Lopyreva jokingly warned the United players.
And the players did not disappoint their special guest, playing out an exhilarating 4-0 win over London rivals West Ham, which left an extremely positive impression on the visiting ambassador.
“Football is more than a sport It unites people around the world,” Lopyreva wrote in an Instagram post. “Had an amazing time in Manchester thanks to overwhelmingly hospitable hosts at Old Trafford and to a spectacular home win - truly a dream come true.”