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MOSCOW, January 12. /TASS/. Portugal’s legendary footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who received earlier in the week ‘The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award for 2016,’ eyes winning the trophy of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, which kicks off in Russia this June.
The 31-year-old striker of the national Portuguese team and of Real Madrid FC said in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com that he was dreaming of winning the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, which is also dubbed as the ‘Tournament of Champions’ because it brings together the winners of each of the six main football competitions (namely, UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, CAF, AFC and OFC) along with the reigning FIFA World Cup Champion and the host country’s national team.
"It will be the first time Portugal competes for the Confederations Cup trophy," Ronaldo was quoted as saying by FIFA.
"It’s going to be beautiful and will stay on our CV," he said. "Obviously, it’s a dream to win, but we know it’s going to be hard as some great teams will be there. But in football everything is possible."
In a video interview with FIFA.com, Ronaldo proved his determination to play in Russia for the trophy of the ‘Tournament of Champions’ by trying to pronounce several words in Russian.
"Cristiano Ronaldo also tried out a couple of Russian phrases," according to the statement from FIFA. "’Privet’ (hello), ‘na zdorovie’ (cheers), before finally saying, in the comfort of his mother tongue, "see you at the Confederations Cup."
The football competition, which is also viewed by experts as a rehearsal held one year prior to the FIFA World Cup, will be held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russia and they are Moscow’s Otkritie-Arena, the St. Petersburg Arena, Sochi’s Fisht Arena and the Kazan-Arena.
Seven nations have already qualified for the 2017 Confederations Cup and they are the competition’s host, Russia, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champion Germany, 2015 Copa America Champion Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia, 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winner Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup winner Portugal and OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup winner New Zealand. The remaining eighth nation will be determined following the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
The draw for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup was held on November 26, 2016 in the Russian city of Kazan.
Following the draw, host Russia was placed in Group A alongside Portugal, Mexico and New Zealand. Group B brought together Germany, Chile, Australia and the winner of the Africa Cup of Nations, which will be determined in early February following the AFC finals in Gabon.
The opening game of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will be held at the newly-built 68,000-seat capacity football arena in St. Petersburg on June 17 between Russia and New Zealand. Russia will face Portugal in Moscow on June 21, and on June 24 it will play Mexico in Kazan, the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan.
After the group stage matches, the two best teams from each group will go head-to-head in the semifinals, set to be held in Kazan and Sochi respectively. On July 2, Moscow will be the venue for the third-place match, while the final will be played again in St. Petersburg, just like the opening.
Since 2005, the FIFA Confederations Cup has been held one year before the most important global quadrennial football tournament, which is the FIFA World Cup. Both FIFA Cups are held in the same hosting nation and the preceding tournament is usually viewed as a trial event to test the facilities and preparations of the hosting nation for the World Cup.