Though he may not have named football as one of his favourite spots, ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in his home country, Putin was also asked for his picks of the most outstanding soccer players of all time.
Host nation Russian Federation has long had problems with racism in football, and there are fears the issue could raise its ugly head again during the tournament, which starts next Thursday.
Predicting the outcome of a World Cup is a fools game, but it's something that every football fan likes to have a go at, and this year's tournament may be one of the most hard to predict in recent memory. "Don't forget who the opponents have been - Argentina, Spain, Brazil, France".
The African teams will be seeking to reach the semi-final stage for the very first time in the competition's history.
The Asian champions are in nine days ahead of the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.More news: Sluggish Nishikori falls in French Open 4th round
So, what should be a festival of football for fans from around the world to come together and enjoy the tournament, instead it will be one where they will be watching their backs, fearful of verbal, physical or cyber-attacks.
"If 23 players want to win it, then 23 players have got that mentality". The two teams with the most points will qualify, while third and fourth placed in the group will be eliminated. The Iranians have been paired in group B with Spain, Portugal and Morocco, but their preparations have been blighted by logistical problems.
Salah, who netted 44 goals in an incredible first season for Liverpool after joining from AS Roma, was voted Player of the Year by the Football Writers' Association last month, becoming the first African to win the prestigious award.
Russian Federation will host the tournament from June 14 to July 15 at 12 stadiums in 11 cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Sochi. The team relies on these two.