Photo Daily | November 20 | CSKA Moscow

Continuing our Russian theme this week, here’s some Russian graffiti on a bench in Lisbon, Portugal. The letters “ЦСКА” translate to CSKA, and for the reason explained below, most likely they refer to CSKA Moscow (ЦСКА Москва) rather than the Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia.

CSKA stands for “Central Sports Club [Klub] of the Army”, so you can guess who they had on their side in Soviet days. Not surprisingly, then, they were very successful, winning seven Soviet championships. In the Russian championship since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the club have continued their success, winning a further three championships in the past five seasons, after a long lean spell in the 1990s. That success owes much to a name familiar to us: Roman Abramovich’s Sibneft oil company invested $54 million in the club in a 2004 sponsorship deal, helping them to their 2005 UEFA Cup Final victory over Sporting Lisbon.

The final was, coincidentally, held in the latter’s stadium, so it’s pretty likely that is when the below photo was taken, as CSKA fans marked the first time a Russian team had won a major European tournament. Sibneft ended their sponsorship of the team shortly after, as Abramovich sold most of his stake in the company and it invested in FC Zenit instead.

Streets of Lisbon. ЦСКА

Photo credit: dotspiral on Flickr, via the Pitch Invasion photo pool.

2 thoughts on “Photo Daily | November 20 | CSKA Moscow

  1. ursus actos Post author

    Picky lawyer here, but it isn’t exactly correct to say that Sibneft invested in Zenit after CSKA.

    What happened is that Gazprom bought Sibneft (thus adding the oil business they had been looking for sometime, allowing Abramovich to cash out, and further centralising control over Russia’s energy resources) and changed its name to Gazprom Neft. Gazprom (the parent) then bought Zenit. Gazprom also sponsors Schalke 04, of course.

    It’s also worth pointing out that CSKA was probably best known for its ice hockey team (generally known as the “Red Army team in North America), which was essentially the club manifestation of the Soviet national team during the 70s and 80s (in the same way Honved was the football equivalent in Hungary in the early 50s). CSKA won all but two of the Soviet hockey championships contested between 1969 and 1990, and was arguably the best club side anywhere in the world during that period (they drew with the Montreal Canadiens, the best NHL team of that era, in a 1975 match in Montreal that some observers consider the greatest hockey game ever played).

    CSKA were similarly dominant in Soviet era basketball, and while the hockey team has not been able to repeat its success in the post-Soviet era, the basketball team has arguably gotten better. They won the Euroleague in 2006 and lost the final (to Panathinaikos on the latter’s home court) in 2007.

  2. Thomas Dunmore Post author

    Great stuff ursus, thanks.

    Interestingly, a quick google also reveals their sports club has been home to numerous elite ice skaters and gymnasts as well.