Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed football fans, players and coaching staff ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup which is just around the corner, in a video address from Moscow released on Friday. “To all football fans and the greatest football teams on the planet — welcome! Welcome to all who have already arrived in Russia, and to those who are planning to take part in this landmark... Еще international event — the FIFA World Cup,” said Putin at the start of his message. Addressing all those involved in the upcoming tournament, the Russian leader emphasised the “immense joy” and “great honour” Russia feels in receiving “representatives of the great football family.” The Russian president also expressed his desire that the World Cup would become a holiday full of “passion and emotions,” also expressing his hope that the forthcoming events would give a chance for Russia's guests to explore the country's “identity and culture, its unique history and natural diversity; its hospitable, sincere and friendly people.” “We have opened both our country and our hearts to the world. Welcome to the FIFA World Cup! It’s my pleasure to share this moment with you!” stated Putin. «Welcome to Russia!» he said, switching to English.