GROZNY - Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of Russia's volatile Chechnya region, outshone a team of former international footballers including Diego Maradona by scoring a hat-trick in a friendly match on Wednesday.
After two and a half hours of celebrations marking the opening of a renovated stadium in the capital Grozny, a Russian Premier League Select XI beat an International XI 5-2.
Local team Terek Grozny, who are coached by Dutch great Ruud Gullit, will be using the new venue for their home games in future.
"We're glad that in Chechnya highly modern structures like this stadium are being constructed," said Terek's club president Kadyrov in a speech before the game.
"The republic is being reborn, we are on the right path," added the 34-year-old as fans cheered at the 30,000-capacity stadium which has been rebuilt at a cost of at least seven billion roubles ($253.6 million).
Kadyrov raised his arms to salute the crowd as they chanted his name throughout the match.
Former Argentina coach and captain Maradona scored one goal for the International XI which also included his countryman Roberto Ayala and Uruguayan Enzo Francescoli.comments