What could only be described as the most watched event in the world right now, the short FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony of 2018 that featured the unlikely duo of British pop star Robbie Williams and Russian president Vladimir Putin saw the singer flip his middle finger during its Live broadcasting.
The 44-year-old Williams performed to a crowd of 80,000 at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium in a leopard print suit on Thursday, June 14, ahead of the opening tournament match between host Russia and Saudi Arabia.
He kicked off his storming set with his 1998 hit Let Me Entertain You before he was joined on stage for a duet of Angels with opera singer Aida Garifullina.
But as he brought the ceremony to a close, he showed the world the finger during his final song Rock DJ as he prowled down the sideline of the stadium.
He also changed the lyric of the song before extending his middle finger.
The song which usually goes as: "Pimpin' ain't easy. Most of them fleece me every night." Instead, he sang it as: "Pimpin' ain't easy. Most of them fleece me but I'm doing this for free."
Williams – who refrained from singing his controversial single Party Like a Russian – came under fire earlier this week after announcing his performance at the event on Twitter.
Bill Browder, the Head of Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, accused him of ‘selling himself to a dictator’.
He tweeted: “There’s lots of ways to make money @robbiewilliams, but selling your soul to a dictator shouldn’t be one of them. Shame on you.”
Despite the accusations, Williams seemed in good spirits as he ended the song, saying "Have a great World Cup everybody" as he waved to the crowd.
A former member of Take That, Robbie Williams reportedly has sold 75 million albums worldwide.