Robbie Williams, Aida Garifullina and Ronaldo set for World Cup opening ceremony

Robbie Williams, Aida Garifullina and Ronaldo set for World Cup opening ceremony

Robbie Williams, Aida Garifullina and Ronaldo set for World Cup opening ceremony

World Cup 2018 is nearly upon us, and the news below will either have you tuning in whether you're a football fan or not, or making sure to miss the opening ceremony - all dependent on your feelings on Robbie Williams.

A spokeswoman for football's world governing body said: "We are extremely happy to have been able to gather such a high-level line-up of artists for the opening ceremony, which for the first time and for the benefit of the fans in the stadium and watching on TV will take place just half an hour before kick-off and will focus on musical performances".

In the opening ceremony, to be held shortly before the tournament's first match between host Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia on Thursday, the two performers will put on a "musical extravaganza", a media release from FIFA said.

Williams said opening the event to 80,000 fans and many millions all over the world was a boyhood dream, and added: "We'd like to invite football and music fans to party with us in Russian Federation, in the stadium, or to tune in their TVs a little earlier for an unforgettable show".

The underlying theme of celebrating not only football but also the host country will be represented by a performance from Garifullina.

"The image that I will be presenting to the whole world will be very symbolic and associated with a dream coming to life", Garifullina said.

Ronaldo was part of the triumphant Brazil squad at the 1994 World Cup, albeit he did not feature, and then claimed the Golden Boot with eight goals as he led his nation to the trophy eight years later.

The 44-year-old said in a statement on Monday that performing at the World Cup was "a boyhood dream" and it would be "an unforgettable show".

"Of course it is also an emotional one for the hosts".

Ronaldo understands the feeling Russian Federation will be experiencing as host, given his involvement in Brazil four years ago, and he is happy to share in that excitement, he said.

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