Monthly review: FC Dinamo Moskva have looked to Portugal in a bid to improve on a dismal 2004 season.
By Eduard Nisenboim
FC Dinamo Moskva have looked to Portugal in their attempt to avoid relegation from the Russian Premier-Liga when the season starts in March. Last year's 13th-place finish, Dinamo's lowest since 1985, has prompted a revolution of sorts at the capital club, with no fewer than six players joining from the Portuguese SuperLiga.
Nuno Frechaut came from Boavista FC and Jorge Ribeiro arrived from Gil Vicente FC while Cicero and Danny left SC Braga and Sporting Clube de Portugal respectively to head for the Dinamo stadium. Better still, Dinamo prised Derlei and Thiago from European champions FC Porto, providing the squad with enormous experience ahead of the new campaign.
More names may yet follow, with Miguel, Maniche, Costinha and Liedson all linked with moves to Russia. On the pitch, domestic title-holders FC Lokomotiv Moskva last week secured their first Commonwealth Cup, defeating Azerbaijan's PFC Neftchi in the final of the tournament for champions of the former Soviet states.
Lokomotiv, who have recruited Aleksei Bugayev from FC Torpedo Moskva, received another boost when key duo Vadim Evseev and Dmitri Loskov signed contract extensions. Fellow Russian internationals Andrei Arshavin and Viacheslav Malafeev have done likewise at FC Zenit St. Peterburg.
Elsewhere, Denis Boyarintsev has joined FC Spartak Moskva, who have been bolstered by the return from a year-long suspension of playmaker Yegor Titov, but the major changes have taken place at PFC CSKA Moskva. The UEFA Cup contenders, who face SL Benfica over two legs next month, have lost several players during the close season, not least Jirí Jarošik.
The midfielder went to Chelsea FC for approximately €3.7m, while coach Valeriy Gazzaev sold captain Sergei Semak to Paris Saint-Germain FC, the side against whom he scored a UEFA Champions League hat-trick last month, for €2.7m. Vágner Love has also expressed a desire to leave CSKA, with Brazilian club SC Corinthians Paulista among the striker's suitors.
In coaching news, Bakhva Tedeev has agreed to take the reins at FC Alania Vladikavkaz for a third time in four years; Gennadi Stiopushkin has replaced Sergei Balakhnin at the helm of FC Rostov; and Oleg Romantsev and Aleksandr Tarkhanov have signed new contracts with Dinamo and FC Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast respectively.