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It’s okay, Sepp Blatter. At least Vladimir Putin thinks you’re a good guy.

Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Good enough to win the Nobel Peace Prize, in fact. In his year-end conference on Thursday, in which he also talked about the war in Syria, oil prices, and his country’s economy, the Russian president took a moment to go to bat for the suspended FIFA president. 

“As for Joseph Blatter, he is a very respected person, he has done a lot for the development of world soccer,” Putin said. “He has always tried to treat football not as a sport but as an element of cooperation between countries and peoples. He is the one who must be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Putin also covered his own bases, insisting that Russia’s 2018 World Cup bid was “absolutely honest,” and lambasted the U.S. for “spread[ing] its jurisdiction to other states.”

Blatter, currently under investigation by Swiss authorities, is testifying this week to FIFA’s ethics panel. You tell ’em, Vlad.