One of the milestone achievements of this World Cup was the implementation of VAR. Are you happy with it?
When it was all over,
Gianni Infantino could say
with satisfaction that
it had been
Like anyone who loves football and wants it to be as fair a game as possible, I am very happy. The FIFA World Cup would not have been the same without the assistance of technology. It would not have been as fair, and its results would have been different. And I do not say that only as FIFA President, but, more importantly, as a fan who has had his share of suffering in the stands.
The essence of VAR is to reduce the frequency of clear match-defining mistakes, and this is exactly what we witnessed in the 17 decisions overturned through video reviews during this World Cup. What VAR will not do, though, is eradicate mistakes; do away with human fallibility; remove subjectivity from refereeing decisions or keep football immune to controversy. And you know what? This is exactly how it should be.
How many years do you think should pass before Russia will have the opportunity to host the biggest football tournament of the planet again?
Hosting a FIFA World Cup is so fantastic that the moment it is finished you are thinking about enjoying it again, right? (laughs) Seriously, now it is the time for Russia to rejoice having hosted the best World Cup of all time and, more importantly, to reap the benefits of having done so. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for football — elite and grassroots, women's and men's — to take an immense step forward in the country, and I am sure this is what we will see. Russia has proved its value as a football country, and the FIFA World Cup will always be there at the top of the football world. One day these paths will certainly meet again.
Do you have a favourite city in Russia? Where you would like to come, not professionally, but, for example, on vacation?
When I started planning my 2018 FIFA World Cup, there was one thing I made very, very clear: I had to visit each of the 11 host cities at least once during the tournament. After having seen how much work each of them put into delivering the event, it was the least I could do. And I am glad I did so, because it was the perfect occasion to experience Russia's magnitude and splendour: you really got the feeling that you visited so many different worlds rolled in one. It is a true marvel of mankind, how 11 cities so far away from one another and so rich and distinct came together to celebrate the same passion for football in their own way. It would be unfair to single one city out: I loved my time in Russia, and I have no doubt that the more than one million tourists who visited the country during the World Cup feel the same.
If you were asked to name the best footballer of the 21st century until now, who would it be?
Again, why limit our choices? We have been fortunate enough to witness the magic of Zinédine Zidane, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and a full decade of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi playing at an unreal level. I prefer to sit back and watch history write itself.
When it was all over, Gianni Infantino could say with satisfaction that it had been THE BEST WORLD CUP EVER