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.