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
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.