With the Preliminary Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ only days away, the final Draw Assistant who will be on hand at Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg on Saturday 25 July has been announced.
The former Brazil frontman Ronaldo rounds out the list of star-studded Draw Assistants who will help unveil the road to Russia 2018 on Saturday evening.
The draw ceremony, which starts at 18.00 local time (17.00 CET), will determine who plays who in the various qualifying competitions across the globe, with the fate of 141 teams from five confederations (the AFC’s member associations are not involved in the draw) being revealed.
Ronaldo will be joining an all-star cast of characters that includes the likes of Fabio Cannavaro, Diego Forlan, Samuel Eto'o, Madjer and Oliver Bierhoff.
Russian duo ready for the draw
Russia striker Alexander Kerzhakov and celebrated former USSR goalkeeper Rinat Dasaev are two other Draw Assistants who will be on hand at Konstantin Palace on Saturday, and the duo are very much looking forward to their roles.
“It is a huge honour for me to represent my country and the Russian national football team at the World Cup Preliminary Draw," said Kerzhakov, who represented Russia in Japan and Korea Republic in 2002, and again in Brazil in 2014. "It will be held in one of the most beautiful places in St. Petersburg – a city where I began my life in professional football.
"It's not just exciting, it's cool. I used to watch the World Cup draw on television, and I couldn't even imagine that one day I’d take part in it myself, standing on the same stage alongside great footballers past and present.
"For me, as a patriot, the World Cup in Russia is a great event. Russia rightfully earned the opportunity to hold the 2018 World Cup, and I'm certain it will be one of the best tournaments of all time.”
Dasaev participated in three consecutive World Cups – in 1982, 1986 and 1990. When asked to reflect upon his time in between the posts for the Soviet Union, he smiled as he remembered his part in those tournaments.
“It is a great honour for me to take part in the World Cup Draw, as I'll be helping to define the path teams will take in the qualifying tournament,” said Dasaev.
“So this is actually my fourth World Cup! This is an extremely enjoyable, honourable and interesting mission, and I very much look forward to meeting and speaking with old friends and acquaintances in St. Petersburg.”