Portuguese cyclist Helder Batista, who arrived in Moscow early on Monday for the FIFA World Cup, told Sputnik that Russians were a "loving and wonderful people" and that he had not encountered any negative attitude during his journey.
"Lots of people are prejudiced against Russia and Russians, but I've experienced no negative attitude here. On the contrary, I've met loving and wonderful people, and people who are always ready to help you. Come to Russia, come to this wonderful country. I've found out myself that people here are not at all like you are told," Batista said.
The cyclist, whose main goal is to raise money for a charity that helps children living with cancer, added that he had been telling people about his charity cause along the journey and that had done everything he could to help the organization.
Batista left Alenquer on May 6 and arrived in Russia on Wednesday after crossing Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia on his way to the World Cup.
He plans to reach the Portugal's base camp on June 20 after covering almost 3,000 miles, on the same day when the team takes on Morocco at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.
On Friday, Reigning European champions Portugal salvaged a dramatic 3-3 draw with 2010 World Cup winners Spain with Portugal star striker Cristiano Ronaldo bagging a hat-trick.
The two teams will also play Morocco and Iran in their remaining Group B matches.