CSKA Moscow are undoubtedly one of Russia's best-known and most successful clubs. After celebrating seven league titles in the former Soviet Union, the club have enjoyed a further three championship wins after the formation of Russia, the most recent coming in 2006. In continental competition, their finest hour to date came in the UEFA Cup victory of 2005, when they defeated Sporting Lisbon 3-1 on Portuguese soil to become the first Russian side ever to win a European trophy.
Birth of an institution
Originally formed as a skiing club on 13 June 1901, CSKA underwent six name changes before settling on their current moniker 21 years ago. Starting as the Amateur Society of Skiing Sports, it became the Sports Club of the Central House of the Red Army in 1928. The club's next name change came 23 years later when they re-registered as the Sports Club of the Central House of the Soviet Army, before becoming Central Sports Club of the Ministry of Defence in 1957. From 1960 to 1988, the club was known as Central Sports Club of the Army. Their full name today translates as the Central Sports Club for the Army of Moscow.
Making of a legend
The most successful period in the club's history was between 1946 and 1951, when the club won no less than five league and three cup titles. Influential during those triumphant years was striker Grigory Fedotov, who notched 126 goals in 155 games and remains the club's record scorer to this day.
In the following years CSKA struggled to match those dizzy heights and another 19 years passed before their fans would celebrate another league crown. In the meantime, Fedotov's son Vladimir rose to become the darling of the fans, as well as setting the club appearance record. Fedotov Jr. pulled on the CSKA jersey no less than 381 times over a 15-year career that came to an end in 1975.
This century, the Koni ('The Horses'), as the club are known by their fans, have gone some way to emulating the achievements of the late 1940s, enjoying their best season of recent times in 2005. As well as the Russian league and cup double, the club also added the UEFA Cup to their haul of trophies. Only the UEFA European Super Cup was missing from the list after CSKA lost 3-1 to Liverpool after extra time.
Since 2000, the club have won a total of 16 trophies including five league championships, six Russian Cups and, of course, that UEFA Cup. After finishing as runners-up in the Premier Liga in 2008, CSKA could only follow up with a fifth-placed finish this term, their worst league showing since coming seventh eight years ago.
With the likes of Russian midfielder Alan Dzagoev, Finland's Roman Eremenko and Nigeria striker Ahmed Musa, CSKA boasts several exciting goalscorers. The most prominent member of the team is nevertheless goalkeeper and captain Igor Akinfeev, the Russian international who has been at the club since 2003.
The Luzhniki Stadium, named after the surrounding swamp area, was opened in 1956. With a capacity of 84,745, the ground actually belongs to city neighbours Torpedo Moscow and is the largest sports arena in the country. During the 1980 Olympic Games, the stadium was expanded to hold 103,000 spectators before being reduced during renovation work between 1995 and 1997. It is one of the few major European stadiums to boast an artificial pitch.