MOSCOW, June 14. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud endorsed cooperation between both countries, but expressed support for their own country’s team during the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening match.
"We are very glad to see you on the occasion of the opening of the World Cup, and also because our teams are facing each other on the opening day. You know that we have very warm feelings for you, but I think you will understand that I cannot wish success to your team," the Russian president said in jest. "May the best team win."
The Russian leader stressed that "we support fair, open and beautiful sports." "In any case, we will appreciate the skills and the game of our footballers," the president concluded.
The Saudi Arabian Crown Prince enjoyed the Russian leader’s joke. "No matter the outcome of today’s match, we will still be satisfied, because we achieve success in different spheres due to our joint work," he said. "Even if we lose, we will take the political and economic negotiating capital back to our country. If we win, it will be our additional achievement."
Putin wholeheartedly agreed with this position and promised to work together in key areas. He also congratulated the Crown Prince on the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday, which starts on Thursday evening and marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.
"Your highness, we remember King Salman’s [bin Abdulaziz Al Saud] visit to Moscow. Please send my best wishes to him," the Russian leader added. "It gave a great boost, momentum to the development of our bilateral relations. Indeed, they develop effectively in the spheres of politics, economic cooperation. There is a lot of work to be done, but it is now clear that our cooperation is effective and useful not only to Saudi Arabia, but to Russia as well."