albawaba - 7/12/2018 12:28:54 PM - GMT (+2 )
The year was 2008. Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium was the venue for Europe club football's most prestigious event, the Champions League final. Two months later, Guss Hiddink guided Russia's national team to the Euro 2008 semi-finals - its first major football milestone since the breakup of the USSR.
Amid the excitement, Vladimir Putin, who's not even a football fan, bid to host the 2018 Fifa World Cup. Largely seen as a political gambit, this move was ultimately geared towards cementing Russia's place as a modern superpower alongside the United States and China.