LASESARRE, SPAIN - AUGUST 5: Puma Orbita, the official match ball of LaLiga in detail prior the pre-season friendly match between Athletic Club and Real Sociedad on August 5, 2022 at Lasesarre Stadium in Barakaldo, Spain. Noxthirdxpartyxsales PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxJPN 195228971

It was a final to remember as France thwarted Croatia’s World Cup dreams in Moscow. The six-game thriller was the perfect sendoff for this year’s breathtaking competition. It had everything. Goals, penalties, own goals, contentious refereeing decision and even a Fortnite celebration courtesy of Antione Griezmann. Oh, and umbrellas, but we’ll get to that later.

The Doubt

Of course, before Russia kicked off against Saudi Arabia there was doubt. Would Vladimir Putin’s Russia successfully ensure the safety of travelling fans? Would politics and football unnecessarily cross paths? And what the hell is going to happen to the Russian players’ families when they get knocked out?

Thankfully, those questions were soon answered, as Russia hosted one of the most successful and entertaining World Cups ever. We almost got through the entire tournament without a noteworthy Vladimir Putin moment too. But alas, moments before the curtains were drawn, before we had the chance to say goodbye to Russia, this happened.

The Umbrella

Absolute power is right. As the skies literally rained on Croatia’s parade, Putin seized the moment. This was his chance to show that, while France were the victors, this was his house. Putin stood smirking in the dry as Gianni Infantino, Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic were soaked to the bone.

We all thought the FIFA, French and Croatia presidents were relatively unbothered by the event. Unbeknownst to most, tensions were building on the stage. We’ve managed to procure a recorded transcript of what happened during the award ceremony. Hopefully, it sheds some light on what actually happened.

The Exchange

Infantino: “Congratulations Emmanuel and my condolences Kolinda. Croatia was fantastic.”


Grabar-Kitarovic: “I’m just so happy to be here!

*Rain begins to fall*

Infantino: “Hey Mr. Putin, it’s st-”

Putin: “Please Gianni, I’ve already told you… call me Vlad.”

Infantino: “Uh, right… Vlad, it’s starting to rain.”

Putin: “I can see that Gianni, thank you for your observation.”

Infantino: “Yes, well, nice suits like ours might get ruined in the rain. Don’t you think it would be smart to take shelter before the rain picks up?”

Putin: “I suppose you’re right… Dimitry… bring me an umbrella.”

Dimitry: “Yes sir.”

*Dimitry opens an umbrella and holds it over Putin*

Infantino: “Just the one? Is it enough?”

Putin: “Why wouldn’t it be? Are you calling me fat Gianni?”

*The rain intensities*

Infantino: “Oh, I didn’t mean… I was more thinking we would each have an umbrella for ourselves?”

Putin: “Why would you need one? It’s pouring and you’re already all soaked.”

Infantino: “We would be dry if Dimitry had brought us an umbrella too!”

Putin: “Hmmm, very well. Dimitry, you’re fired. Pack your bags, you’re off to Siberia.”

Infantino: “This isn’t Dimitry’s fault. Don’t blame him.

Putin: “Oh, so I suppose it’s my fault?

Infantino: “Well it would have been nice to get us one too.”

Putin: “You never asked for an umbrella, Gianni. Did you ask for an umbrella Emmanuel?”


Putin: “Did you ask for an umbrella Kolinda?”

Grabar-Kitarovic: “I’m just so happy to be here.”

Putin: “See?”

Infantino: “You’re unbelievable.”

Putin: “I try.”

Infantino: “Fine, can I have an umbrella now?”

Putin: “In five minutes when the rain dies down. Let me have my moment.”

Infantino: “Sure Vlad.”

Putin: “Please, call me Mr. Putin.”