x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

In pictures: Celebrity fans at FIFA final

Vladimir Putin chatted with Angela Merkel and David Beckham and hugged Pele at the World Cup final on Sunday. Tom Brady looked on from the VIP seats as his wife Gisele Bündchen brought the trophy on the field before the game. Mick Jagger and LeBron James were also at Maracanã Stadium to see Germany beat Argentina 1-0 in extra time.

Celebrities rubbed shoulders at the stadium, starting with Shakira singing and Carlos Santana playing the guitar during the closing ceremony.

At the final whistle, the German chancellor Merkel jumped from her seat and raised both arms in triumph. She warmly embraced the German players as they collected their medals.

Russia’s president, Putin, and the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, were next in line with congratulations.

While Putin watched the match settled deep into his chair, to his immediate right, Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, was perched attentively forward to see his native Germany play.

And when the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, was a few minutes late in coming back for the second half, Putin took his chance to take her seat for an extra conversation with Merkel.

Brady was seated about 10 metres to Putin’s right, though the New England Patriots quarterback was standing and clapping like a regular fan when his wife delivered the trophy pitchside with Carles Puyol, a key player in Spain’s 2010 winning team.

Bündchen joined her husband to watch the match in a section with World Cup-winning players and the closing ceremony musicians and their families.

Shakira and Gerard Piqué fit into both camps, with the Spain and Barcelona defender carrying their 18-month-old son Milan.

No surprise that David Beckham made perhaps the biggest mark with his children.

The former England star, who was famously sent off against Argentina in a 1998 World Cup loss, arrived with his sons Brooklyn, Cruz and Romeo all wearing the South American team’s jerseys. – AP