WATCH | Robbie Williams kicks off World Cup with middle finger to the world
British pop star Robbie Williams caused a stir during his performance at the World Cup opening ceremony in Moscow on Thursday by making an obscene gesture to a camera.
The former Take That frontman raised his middle finger at the end of his performance at the Luzhniki Stadium after appearing to mouth the words "I did this for free".
The 44-year-old performed the opening show alongside Russian soprano Aida Garifullina, with the two singing a duet of his hit solo song Angels.
WATCH | Robbie William middle fingers the camera at the opening of the World Cup
The incident - and his performance - sparked mixed reaction on social media:
Turned on FOX just in time to see Robbie Williams give the middle finger to be worldwide audience. God, I love the World Cup. @robbiewilliams #RUS #Russia #WorldCup #WorldCup2018 #worldcuprussia2018 stream #RobbieWilliams #ЧМ2018 #WorldCupFantasy #Moscow #khabibnurmagomedov #ufc pic.twitter.com/Hs6aLEdEp0— Nishanth (@Nishanth316cold) June 15, 2018
#RobbieWilliams middle finger was not good at all, I so wish this guy was there to knock him down😠😠😠#WorldCup #WorldCupRussia2018 #FifaWorldCup18 #OneLaughTourTwoRivers #Russia #birthday #BirthdayGirl #startup #cakeface pic.twitter.com/MZsWTd0AkL— Duma Mthombeni Mseleku Lwandle Magagula Ntenga (@Glenntenga21) June 14, 2018
Williams had also sparked controversy in Russia two years ago for promoting stereotypes about the country with his song Party Like a Russian.
He said when his performance at the ceremony was announced on Monday that it was "a boyhood dream" and would be "an unforgettable show".
Williams was performing in front of 80,000 people at the stadium, and a global television audience of tens of millions.
The ceremony was followed by the opening match with hosts Russia routing Saudi Arabia 5-0.