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Russian President Vladimir Putin named only one legendary player from his native homeland among his three favourite footballers of all time.
The 69-year-old former KGB agent paid a visit to China ahead of Russia hosting the World Cup in 2018.
According to Russian news agency TASS, Putin was asked for his thoughts on the footballers who he ‘considered to be outstanding.’
Brazil icon Pele and Argentine legend Diego Maradona are both featured in the Russian leader’s picks.
And the third footballer to make Putin’s list was none other than Dynamo Moscow legend Lev Yashin, who starred on the official poster for the 2018 World Cup.
Yashin is widely regarded as the greatest goalkeeper of all time, with the Black Spider being the only ‘keeper in history to lift France Football’s Ballon d’Or.
The Russian icon, who passed away in 1990 at the age of 60, made 72 appearances for the Soviet Union national team and spent his entire club career at Dynamo Moscow.
Yashin’s legendary exploits between the sticks saw France Football’s introduction of the Yashin Trophy in 2019, as well as securing his place in the Ballon d’Or Dream Team in 2020.
During his interview with the China Media Group, Putin revealed that he would spend “about two to two-and-a-half hours” of his time on sports every day.
“I dedicate about two to two-and-a-half hours to sports every day,” he said.
The former Russian prime minister also opened up on his attempts to play hockey and his other routines, including working out, swimming and keeping on top of his judo if a sparring partner turns up.
“I also play hockey, though not so often as I would like to,” Putin said, before adding: “it would be an exaggeration to say that I actually ‘play,’ but I do try hard.”
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