Putin awards medal to FIFA president Infantino

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              Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with FIFA President Gianni Infantino during an awarding ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 23, 2019. Putin awarded FIFA President Gianni Infantino with the Order of Friendship and praised the World Cup that Russia hosted last year as the best ever. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)
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MOSCOW (AP) — Vladimir Putin has given FIFA president Gianni Infantino a medal.

The Russian president awarded Infantino the Order of Friendship at the Kremlin on Thursday.

Infantino has often said last year’s World Cup in Russia, where the host nation surprisingly reached the quarterfinals, was the best of the 21 editions of the tournament.

Putin thanked the FIFA leader for “your glowing assessment of our efforts.”

Infantino says of Russia’s “bonds of friendship” with soccer “is not the end, it is only the beginning of our fruitful cooperation and interaction.”