Putin says 'emotional' Russia 2018 World Cup as important as re-election at year-end presser
Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared this summer's Russia 2018 World Cup with the country's presidential elections, claiming both were his personal choice for the two most important, emotional events of the year.
Speaking at his annual Q&A press conference on Thursday, Putin was asked about his earlier words in which the Russian head of state proclaimed he is "a gatherer of emotions" and that this was his "wealth as the leader of the country". He was then tasked to single out the most important, emotionally-charged event of 2018.
“There are two - there were the presidential elections, that goes without saying. That was important for the whole country. And the football World Cup! That also turned out important,” Putin chuckled.
In March this year, Putin was re-elected as Russian president in a landslide victory after claiming 76.69 percent of the vote, just three months before the country hosted the event for the first time in its history.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup was lauded as perhaps the greatest on record for its action-packed, high-scoring and high-octane matches, taking place across 11 host cities in 12 host venues from the opening match on June 14 to the final on July 15.
Putin was on hand at that final game at Luzhniki Stadium to present the famous World Cup trophy to winners France after their 4-2 victory over Croatia, the final chapter in a momentous event for the nation.
Irish MMA superstar Conor McGregor also attended the event as a guest of honor, and took the opportunity to grab a photo with the man he called "one of the greatest leaders of our time".Also on rt.com ‘One of the greatest leaders of our time!’ - McGregor pictured with Putin at World Cup Final