RUSSIA, June 14: UK singer Robbie Williams, Russian operatic soprano Aida Garifullina and two-time FIFA World Cup champion Ronaldo will take part in the opening ceremony of the upcoming World Cup in Russia, FIFA said.
The opening ceremony will be held on Thursday at Moscow's 81,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium and will kick off at 8:15 pm, half an hour before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Ronaldo, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994 and 2002, said the opening game was the moment "when you realize that the big moment you, as a player or fan, have been waiting for four years has finally arrived," adding that he was happy to share the excitement of hosting the World Cup with Russia.
The official song for FIFA World Cup 2018 recorded by Nicky Jam in collaboration with US movie and rap star Will Smith and Albanian singer Era Istrefi, will also be performing minutes before the 2018 FIFA World Cup final, which will be held at the 81,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the opening ceremony. At the 68th FIFA Congress, held in Moscow on Wednesday, Putin said, "Our country is ready to host the FIFA World Cup, and provide everyone who will come to Russia with maximum comfort and the best emotions possible".
According to the Kremlin, the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony will be attended by more than 20 world leaders, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Abkhazian President Raul Khajimba, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, and President of the Presidium of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong Nam.