MOSCOW, February 22. /TASS/. Famous Spanish footballer Carles Puyol, who is the 2008 Euro Cup champion and the 2010 World Cup champion, is paying a visit to Russia’s St. Petersburg and Moscow next week in a bid to mount up the excitement ahead of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The 38-year-old former midfielder will begin his visit to Russia on Monday, February 27, calling at the newly-built football arena in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg, where his is joining a delegation from FIFA and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Russia-2018.
Following the visit to the St. Petersburg Arena, Puyol will go for an online conversation with Russian football fans via Russia’s social network VKontakte, where he earlier opened a personal account.
The Spanish footballer is then scheduled to continue his visit on Tuesday in the Russian capital of Moscow, where he is meeting with volunteers, selected to serve at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The meeting will take place at the center of volunteers located at Moscow’s MGIMO University.
Last June, Puyol was in Moscow attending the launch of the 2018 World Cup and the 2017 Confederations Cup Volunteer Recruitment campaign at a solemn ceremony at a solemn ceremony alongside with Russian President Vladimir Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
“I enjoyed my trip to Russia so much last summer for the launch of 2018 FIFA World Cup Volunteers Program that I couldn’t wait to come back,” Puyol was quoted as saying in a statement on the FIFA official website. "I am happy to tell you that I’ll be back in Saint Petersburg and Moscow next week."
The FIFA Confederations Cup, which is also viewed by experts as a rehearsal a 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.
Participants of the 2017 Confederations Cup are hosts Russia, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions Germany, 2015 Copa America Champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia, 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup winners Portugal, OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup winners New Zealand and 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Champion Cameroon.
The Draw for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup was held on November 26 in the Russian city of Kazan. Following the draw hosts Russia was placed in Group A alongside with Portugal, Mexico and New Zealand. Group B has brought together Germany, Chile, Australia and Cameroon.
The opening game will be held 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.
Russia is currently in full-swing preparations for the global football tournaments after the country clinched the bid, following the final vote at the FIFA Executive Committee in December 2010. The victory came following a tight race against the bids from England, Portugal and Spain, in addition to a joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.
The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 above-mentioned cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital of Moscow.