The story

When CSKA Moscow lifted the UEFA Cup in 2005, becoming the first Russian team to win a European trophy, manager Valeri Gazzaev described it as "a landmark victory for Russian football."

Three years later, Zenit St Petersburg matched the achievement a month before the Russian national team reached the semifinals of Euro 2008. After years on the margins, Russian football was back in the limelight.

Jonathan Wilson, author of "Behind the Curtain, Travels in Eastern European Football," told CNN that recent successes mark a renaissance of Russian football.

A far-cry from the early years after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when teams previously funded by state bodies -- such as the police force or the army -- were left chronically short of money.

Wilson said that under communist rule Spartak Moscow had been funded by a trade union representing catering workers and were less directly dependant on state support than other Russian clubs. Read full article »

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