Glitz and glam­our fea­tured in the open­ing cer­e­mony of World Cup 2018 yes­ter­day. Singer Rob­bie Wil­liams and Brazil­ian leg­end Ron­aldo got things un­der way.

WORLD CUP: Star avoids Rus­sian song but raises eye­brows with of­fen­sive ac­tion

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Lucy map­stone

Rob­bie Wil­liams and leg­endary Brazil­ian foot­baller Ron­aldo kicked off the World Cup in Rus­sia with the open­ing cer­e­mony in Moscow yes­ter­day.

Per­form­ing some of his clas­sic hits, the Bri­tish singer re­mained true to his word and avoided singing his 2016 song Party Like A Rus­sian, which at­tracted neg­a­tive press in the coun­try as the song ap­pears to crit­i­cise the ex­cesses of Rus­sian oli­garchs.

But he still man­aged to court con­tro­versy when he made a rude ges­ture at the cam­era while singing his song Rock DJ, which ap­peared to take place af­ter ITV stopped air­ing the per­for­mance in the UK.

Ron­aldo al­lowed a child to sig­nal the start of the tournament at the Luzh­niki Sta­dium by dum­my­ing the open­ing kick for the young­ster to pass the ball to mas­cot Zabi­vaka.

Rus­sian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin then gave a speech.

“We are sin­cerely happy to host the World Cup in our coun­try,” he said.

“Foot­ball is truly loved here. Rus­sia is an open, hos­pitable and friendly coun­try.”

For­mer Take That Wil­liams star opened the set by strut­ting on to the foot­ball pitch to the sound of his 1998 sin­gle Let Me En­ter­tain You, wear­ing a red leop­ard print suit and black shirt.

As he started singing, he was joined on the pitch by dancers clad in foot­ball­re­lated cos­tumes, in­clud­ing some with large foot­ball-shaped hats and oth­ers who were per­form­ing tricks with balls.

Ron­aldo re­turned with the of­fi­cial ball, which was sent into space with the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion crew in March and came back to Earth ear­lier this month.

He then shaped to take the of­fi­cial kick but pulled out, invit­ing the child to pass it to Zabi­vaka, a brown and white wolf that is the of­fi­cial mas­cot of the tournament.

Wil­liams then sang his other sin­gle Feel while the word “Love” was spelled out by dancers on the pitch.

Wil­liams and Gar­i­ful­lina then joined forces for a duet of his sin­gle An­gels as the crowd sang along.

How­ever, fans watch­ing in the UK were not able to watch his next per­for­mance of Rock DJ, as ITV cut back to their stu­dio.

Videos and pic­tures started to cir­cu­late on so­cial me­dia of Wil­liams with his mid­dle fin­ger up at the cam­era shortly af­ter­wards.

Be­fore tak­ing to the pitch for the open­ing cer­e­mony, which the singer de­scribed as a “pinch me mo­ment”, Wil­liams ad­mit­ted that he was not feel­ing too hope­ful about Eng­land’s ef­forts in the tournament.

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