April 20, 2016

MOSCOW (AP) Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with new FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who tried out a few phrases he has learned to say in Russian during his visit to check on preparations for the 2018 World Cup.

Infantino told Putin during their meeting Wednesday in the Kremlin that ''I love football'' was one of the things he has learned to say.

Putin said Russia hopes to use the preparations for the 2018 World Cup as a way of strengthening its relations with countries competing in the finals.

Infantino also addressed Russia's parliament Wednesday.

The day before, he toured Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, which is undergoing major reconstruction to be ready for the World Cup final.

The new FIFA president heads next to Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup.

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