Monday afternoon, Alex Ovechkin was bestowed yet another international honor. The Russian machine was named an ambassador of the 2018 World Cup being held in his home country of Russia.
The Capitals, who usually announce honors relating to their players, let Ovechkin do it himself on his Instagram page.
“I’m very proud to be Ambassador for the FIFA World Cup 2018,” Ovechkin Ovechkin wrote in English. “I really looking forward for the greatest football tournaments taking place in Russia in next two years.”
The 2018 World Cup will take place from June 14, 2018 to July 15, 2018 and be played at 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi, and Rostov-on-Don.
Ovechkin’s honor follows a large-scale endorsement deal he signed with Bank Otkrytie over the summer which coincided with the first day of the UEFA Euro 2016 soccer tournament held in France. Ovechkin filmed multiple soccer-themed commercials and one priceless one with a tuba.
“It’s a huge honor for me to become a World Cup Ambassador,” Ovechkin reiterated to FIFA.com. “Football is my second passion and I’m really happy that the biggest football tournament in the world is taking place in our country for the first time. I hope all the fans experience memorable emotions and the players really light it up on the pitch. We’ll see each other really soon at the Confederations Cup in 2017!”
“When I was young I was constantly playing all kinds of sports in the yard: football, basketball and hockey for example,” Ovechkin continued. “However, when the time came to choose, I decided on hockey.”
According to FIFA, Ovechkin regularly plays soccer (shirtless) in exhibition and charity matches, plus he supports Dynamo Moscow and Barcelona. Ovechkin’s favourite player is Lionel Messi, whom he had the chance to meet in Washington two years ago.
And proving his immense skill (or luckiness) at the sport, Ovechkin also scored this insane soccer goal at Six Flags once.
The Russian machine joins a who’s who of Russia 2018 Ambassadors including national team goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, former players Alexei Smertin and Sergei Semak, pianist Denis Matsuev and legendary Soviet striker Nikita Simonyan, who captained the USSR at their debut World Cup in 1958 and is now the vice president of the Russian Football Union. Television, radio and public personalties like Yana Churikova, Sergei Belogolovtsev, Nikolai Drozdov and Lyasan Utiasheva have also received the honor.
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