FC Spartak Moscow

FC Spartak Moscow (Russian: Футбольный клуб «Спартак» Москва [spɐrˈtak mɐˈskva]) is a Russian professional football club from Moscow. Having won 12 Soviet championships (second only to Dynamo Kyiv) and a record 10 Russian championships, it is the country's most successful club. They have also won a record 10 Soviet Cups, 3 Russian Cups and one Russian Super Cup. Spartak have also reached the semi-finals of all three European club competitions.

Spartak Moscow
Full nameФутбольный клуб Спартак Москва
(Football Club Spartak Moscow)
Nickname(s)Narodnaya komanda (The People's Team)
Krasno-Belye (Red-and-Whites)
Myaso (Meat)
Founded18 April 1922; 99 years ago (1922-04-18)
GroundOtkritie Arena
OwnerVagit Alekperov, Leonid Fedun[1]
Managing DirectorYevgeni Melezhikov
Head coachRui Vitória
LeagueRussian Premier League
2020–21Russian Premier League, 2nd of 16
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Historically, the club was a part of the Spartak sports society. Other teams in the society include ice hockey club HC Spartak Moscow. Currently, the club is not connected with the Spartak sports society and is an independent privately owned organisation.



In the early days of Soviet football, many government agencies such as the police, army and railroads created their own clubs. So many statesmen saw in the wins of their teams the superiority over the opponents patronising other teams. Almost all the teams had such kind of patrons — Dynamo Moscow with the militsiya, CSKA Moscow with the Red Army and Spartak, created by a trade union public organization was considered to be "the people's team".

The history of the football club and sports society "Spartak" originates from the Russian Gymnastics Society (RGO "Sokol"), which was founded on May 4, 1883. The society was founded under the influence of the Pan-Slavic "Sokol movement" with the aim of promoting the "Sokolsk gymnastics" and then other sports: fencing, wrestling, figure skating, skating, football, hockey, lawn tennis, boxing, skis, Athletics, cycling ... In the spring of 1922 the RGO "Sokol" was renamed into MKS. (Moscow Sport Circle).

In 1922, the Moscow Sport Circle (Moscow sport club of Krasnopresnensky district) (МКС, Московский кружок спорта), later named Krasnaya Presnya (Red Presnya), was formed by Ivan Artemyev and involved Nikolai Starostin, especially in its football team. Presnya is a district of Moscow renowned for the radical politics of its inhabitants. For example, it was the centre of the Moscow uprising of 1905.

The team grew, building a stadium, supporting itself from ticket sales and playing matches across the Russian SFSR. As part of a 1926 reorganization of football in the Soviet Union, Starostin arranged for the club to be sponsored by the food workers union and the club moved to the 13,000 seat Tomsky Stadium, known as Pishcheviki. The team changed sponsors repeatedly over the following years as it competed with Dinamo Moscow, whose 35,000 seat Dynamo Stadium lay close by.

As a high-profile sportsman, Starostin came into close contact with Alexander Kosarev, secretary of the Komsomol (Communist Union of Youth) who already had a strong influence on sport and wanted to extend it. In November 1934, with funding from Promkooperatsiia, Kosarev employed Starostin and his brothers to develop his team to make it more powerful. Again the team changed its name, this time to "Spartak Moscow" (the name Spartak means "Spartacus", a gladiator who led an uprising against Ancient Rome).

The club founders, four Starostin brothers, played a big role in the formation of the team. The Starostins played for the red-whites in the 1930s but right before World War II they were subjected to repression as the leaders of the most hated[clarification needed] team by the state authorities. Elder brother Nikolai Starostin wrote in his books that he had survived in the State Prison System due to his participation in football and with Spartak. After the political rehabilitation, in 1954, he would later return to the team as the squad's manager.

Soviet period

In 1935, Starostin proposed the name Spartak. It was inspired by the Italian novel Spartaco, written by Raffaello Giovagnoli, and means Spartacus ("Spartak" in Russian), a gladiator-slave who led a rebellion against Rome. Starostin is also credited with the creation of the Spartak logo.[2] The same year, the club became a part of newly created Spartak sports society.

Czechoslovak manager Antonin Fivebr is credited as the first head coach of Spartak, though he worked as a consultant in several clubs simultaneously.[3] In 1936, the Soviet Top League was established, where its first championship was won by Dynamo Moscow while Spartak won its second, which was held in the same calendar year. Before World War II, Spartak earned two more titles.[4] In 1937 Spartak won the football tournament of Workers' Olympiad at Antwerp.

During the 1950s, Spartak, together with Dynamo, dominated the Soviet Top League. When the Soviet national team won gold medals at the Melbourne Olympics, it consisted largely of Spartak players. Spartak captain Igor Netto was the captain of the national team from 1954 to 1963. In the 1960s, Spartak won two league titles, but by the mid-1960s, Spartak was no more regarded as a leading Soviet club. The club was even less successful in the 1970s and in 1976 Spartak was relegated into the lower league.

During the following season, the stadium was still full as the club's fans stayed with the team during its time in the lower division. Konstantin Beskov, who became the head coach (as a footballer Beskov made his name playing for Spartak's main rivals, Dynamo), introduced several young players, including Rinat Dasayev and Georgi Yartsev. Spartak came back the next year and won the title in 1979, beating Dynamo Kyiv and thanks to Spartak supporters, the period is considered to be the start of the modern-style fans' movement in the Soviet Union.

On 20 October 1982, disaster struck during the UEFA Cup match between Spartak and Dutch club HFC Haarlem. Sixty-six people died in a stampede during the match,[5] making it Russia's worst sporting disaster.

In 1989, Spartak won its last USSR Championship, rivals Dynamo Kyiv 2–1 in the closing round. Spartak's striker Valery Shmarov scored the "golden" free kick with almost no time left. The next season, Spartak reached the European Cup semi-final, consequently eliminating Napoli on penalties and Real Madrid (with 3–1 away victory), but losing to Marseille.

Modern period

View of the Otkrytie Arena.

A new page in the club's history began when the Soviet Union collapsed and its championship ceased to exist. In the newly created Russian league, Spartak, led by coach and president Oleg Romantsev, dominated and won all but one title between 1992 and 2001. Year-after-year the team also represented Russia in the Champions League.

Problems began in the new century, however. Several charismatic players (Ilya Tsymbalar and Andrey Tikhonov among others) left the club as a result of conflict with Romantsev. Later, Romantsev sold his stock to oil magnate Andrei Chervichenko, who in 2003 became the club president. The two were soon embroiled in a row that would continue until Romantsev was sacked in 2003 with the club suffering several sub-par seasons until Chervichenko finally sold his stock in 2004. The new ownership made a number of front office changes with the aim of returning the team to the top of the Russian Premier League.[6]

In the 2005 season, Spartak, led by Aleksandrs Starkovs, finished second in the league following an impressive run to beat Lokomotiv Moscow, Zenit Saint Petersburg and Rubin Kazan to the last Champions League place.

Following a mixed start to the 2006 season and public criticism from Dmitry Alenichev, the team's captain and one of its most experienced players, Starkovs left his position to Vladimir Fedotov.

Spartak has been entitled to place a golden star on its badge since 2003 to commemorate winning five Russian championships in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997. They have won the championship another four times since 1997. Since 2013, the club have added another three stars as rules allowed teams to include titles won during the Soviet era. In the 2012–13 season, Spartak qualified for the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League group stage and finished last after disappointing performances against FC Barcelona, Celtic and Benfica. In the league, Spartak finished in fourth place while in the cup it was eliminated in the round of 16 by FC Rostov 0–0 (3–5 p), completing a disappointing season. The next 3 seasons (2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16) were somewhat similar as Spartak finished 6th, 6th and 5th accordingly while the club did not qualify for European Competitions.

Revival of Spartak

By the beginning of the 2016–17 season, Spartak had acquired a strong squad consisting of talented foreign players such as Quincy Promes, Fernando, Zé Luís, Lorenzo Melgarejo and noteworthy Russians such as Denis Glushakov, Roman Zobnin and Ilya Kutepov. As a result, Spartak won the 2016–17 Russian Premier League after a spectacular performance and the club won most derbies and finished with a difference of 7 points. In the 2016–17 Russian Cup, Spartak was eliminated in the round of 32 and in the 2016–17 UEFA Europa League Spartak was eliminated in the third qualifying round by AEK Larnaca FC 2–1 on aggregate and did not qualify for European Competitions. However, Spartak will be participating in the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League group stage. On 6 December 2017, Spartak suffered the biggest defeat in its history, losing 0–7 in an away UCL group match against Liverpool F.C., though they earlier defeated Sevilla FC 5–1.[7]


Domestic competitions

Winners: 1977
Winners: 1987



  • Match Premier Cup
Winners: 2019, 2020
Winners: 1982
Winners: 2012

Notable European campaigns

Season Achievement Notes
European Cup / UEFA Champions League
1980–81 Quarter-final eliminated by Real Madrid 0–0 in Tbilisi, 0–2 in Madrid
1990–91 Semi-final eliminated by Marseille 1–3 in Moscow, 1–2 in Marseille
1993–94 Group stage finished third in a group with Barcelona, AS Monaco and Galatasaray
1995–96 Quarter-final eliminated by Nantes 2–2 in Moscow, 0–2 in Nantes
2000–01 Second group stage finished fourth in a group with Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Lyon
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
1972–73 Quarter-final eliminated by Milan 0–1 in Moscow, 1–1 in Milan
1992–93 Semi-final eliminated by Antwerp 1–0 in Moscow, 1–3 in Antwerp
UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League
1983–84 Quarter-final eliminated by Anderlecht 2–4 in Brussels, 1–0 in Tbilisi
1997–98 Semi-final eliminated by Internazionale 1–2 in Moscow, 1–2 in Milan
2010–11 Quarter-final eliminated by Porto 1–5 in Porto, 2–5 in Moscow

UEFA club coefficient ranking

As of 07.05.2021, Source:

87 Stade Rennais F.C.19.000
88 Malmö FF18.500
89 Spartak Moscow18.500
90 FK Partizan18.000
91 Hapoel Be'er Sheva F.C.17.500
As of 14 August 2018
Competition Pld W D L GF GA GD Win%
UEFA Champions League 122 40 31 51 173 189 −16 032.79
UEFA Europa League 114 59 22 33 180 138 +42 051.75
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 18 10 4 4 31 17 +14 055.56
Total 254 109 57 88 382 341 +41 042.91

League history

Soviet Union

Season Div. Pos. Pl. W D L GS GA P Cup Europe Top scorer (league) Manager/acting manager
1936 (s)1st3631212713-- Glazkov – 4 Kozlov
1936 (a)17421191017QF- Glazkov – 7 Kozlov
1937216853241637R16- Rumyantsev – 8 Kvashnin
19381251834741939W- Sokolov – 18 Kvashnin
19391261493582337W- Semyonov – 18 P.Popov
19403241356543531-- Semyonov – 13
Kornilov – 13
1944no league competitionSF-- Kvashnin
194510226313224415R16- Timakov – 7 Isakov
1946622859384021W- Salnikov – 9Vollrat
1947824699342621W- Dementyev – 9Vollrat
19483261817643437RU- Konov – 15 Kvashnin
19493342176934349SF- Simonyan – 26 Dangulov
195053617109774044W- Simonyan – 34 Dangulov
195162813510503531QF- Simonyan – 10 Dangulov
1952113922261220RU- Paramonov – 8 Sokolov
19531201172471529QF- Simonyan – 14 Sokolov
19542241437492631R16- Ilyin – 11 Sokolov
19552221534552733SF- Parshin – 13 Gulyaev
19561221543682834-- Simonyan – 16 Gulyaev
19573221165432828RU- Simonyan – 12 Gulyaev
19581221363552832W- Ilyin – 19 Gulyaev
1959622886322824-- Isaev – 8 Gulyaev
19607301578523237R16- Ilyin – 13 Simonyan
19613301686573440R16- Khusainov – 14 Simonyan
19621322156612547R16- Sevidov – 16 Simonyan
19632382288653352W- Sevidov – 15 Simonyan
196483212812343232SF- Sevidov – 6 Simonyan
1965832101210282632W- Khusainov – 5
Reingold – 5
196643615129454142QF- Osyanin – 15 Gulyaev
196773613149383040R32CWCR16 Khusainov – 8 Salnikov
196823821107644352R32- Khusainov – 14 Simonyan
19691322462511554R32- Osyanin – 16 Simonyan
197033212146432538QF- Khusainov – 12 Simonyan
19716309138353131WECCR32 Kiselyov – 5
Silagadze – 5
Piskarev – 5
1972113081012293026RUUCR32 Papaev – 4
Andreev – 4
Piskarev – 4
19734301488372831QFCWCQF Piskarev – 12 Gulyaev
19742301596412339QF- Piskarev – 10 Gulyaev
1975103091011273028R16UCR64 Lovchev – 8 Gulyaev
1976 (s)1415429101810-UCR16 Pilipko – 2
Lovchev – 2
Bulgakov – 2
1976 (a)1515537151813R32- Bulgakov – 6 Krutikov
19772nd13822106834254R16- Yartsev – 17 Beskov
19781st53014511423333R16- Yartsev – 19 Beskov
197913421103662550Qual.- Yartsev – 14 Beskov
19802341897492645SF- Rodionov – 7 Beskov
19812341987704046RUECCQF Gavrilov – 21 Beskov
19823341699593541Qual.UCR32 Shavlo – 11 Beskov
19832341897602545R16UCR16 Gavrilov – 18 Beskov
19842341897532945QFUCQF Rodionov – 13 Beskov
198523418106722846R16UCR16 Rodionov – 14 Beskov
19863301497522137SFUCR16 Rodionov – 17 Beskov
198713016113492642R16UCR16 Rodionov – 12
Cherenkov – 12
198843014115402639QFUCR32 Rodionov – 12 Beskov
198913017103491944QFECCR16 Rodionov – 16 Romantsev
19905241257392629R16UCR32 Shmarov – 12 Romantsev
19912301776573041QFECCSF Mostovoi – 13
Radchenko – 13
1992--WUCR32- Romantsev


Season Div. Pos. Pl. W D L GS GA P Cup Europe Top scorer (league) Manager/acting manager
19921st1261871621943-- Radchenko – 12 Romantsev
199313421112811853R32CWCSF Beschastnykh – 18 Romantsev
19941302181732150WUCLGS Beschastnykh – 10 Romantsev
19953301975762663SFUCLGS Shmarov – 16 Romantsev
19961352294723575RUUCLQF Tikhonov – 16 Yartsev
19971342275673073QFUCR32 Kechinov – 11 Romantsev
Tsymbalar – 10 Romantsev
19991302262752472R32UCLGS Tikhonov – 19 Romantsev
Titov – 13 Romantsev
20011301794563060QFUCL2nd GS Titov – 11
Robson – 11
20023301677493655R32UCLGS Beschastnykh – 12 Romantsev
2003103010614384836WUCLGS Pavlyuchenko – 10 Romantsev
Pavlyuchenko – 10 Scala
20052301686472656R32- Pavlyuchenko – 11 Starkov
200623015132603658RU- Pavlyuchenko – 18 Starkov
Pavlyuchenko – 14 Fedotov
Bazhenov – 6
Pavlyuchenko – 6
Pavlenko – 6
Welliton – 6
M. Laudrup
20092301749613355QF- Welliton – 21 M. Laudrup
Welliton – 19 Karpin
2011–12244211211684875R16UCQual Emenike – 13 Karpin
2012–134301569513951R16UCLGS Y. Movsisyan – 13 Emery
2013–1463015510463650R16UCQual Y. Movsisyan – 16 Karpin
2014–1563012810424244R16- Promes – 13 Yakin
2015–1653015510483950R16- Promes – 18 Alenichev
2016–171302235462769R32UCQual Promes – 11 Alenichev
2017–183301686513256SFUCLGS Promes – 15 Carrera
Zé Luís – 10 Carrera
2019–2073011613353339QFUELQual. Aleksandr Sobolev – 12 Kononov

Most league goals for Spartak

As of 23 September 2018 (min. 50)

  1. Nikita Simonyan: 133
  2. Sergey Rodionov: 119
  3. Galimzyan Khusainov: 102
  4. Fyodor Cherenkov: 95
  5. Yuri Gavrilov: 90
  6. Yegor Titov: 86
  7. Anatoli Ilyin: 83
  8. Yuri Sevidov: 71
  9. Roman Pavlyuchenko: 69
  10. Andrey Tikhonov: 68
  11. Sergei Salnikov: 64
  12. Aleksei Paramonov: 63
  13. Quincy Promes: 59
  14. Welliton: 57
  15. Vladimir Beschastnykh: 56
  16. Anatoli Isayev: 54
  17. Georgi Yartsev: 54
  18. Valeri Shmarov: 54
  19. Nikolai Osyanin: 50


The team is usually called "red-and-whites," but among the fans "The Meat" (Russian: "Мясо", "Myaso") is a very popular nickname. The origins of the nickname belong to the days of the foundation of the club; in the 1920s, the team was renamed several times, from "Moscow Sports Club" to "Red Presnya" (after the name of one of the districts of Moscow) to "Pishcheviki" ("Food industry workers") to "Promkooperatsiya" ("Industrial cooperation") and finally to "Spartak Moscow" in 1935, and for many years the team was under patronage of one of the Moscow food factories that dealt with meat products.

One of the most favourite slogans of both the fans and players is, "Who are we? We're The Meat!" (Russian: "Кто мы? Мясо!", "Kto my? Myaso!")

Kits and crests

FC Spartak Moscow's main colour is red. In 2014, Nike unveiled kit inspired by the club's new home.[8]

Kit suppliers and shirt sponsors

Period Kit supplier Shirt sponsor
1979–1987 Adidas
1988 Danieli
1989 JINDO
1990–1993 Unipack
1994–1996 Urengoygazprom
1997–1998 Akai
2000–2002 Lukoil
2003–2004 Umbro
2005–present Nike

Rival teams and friendships

At present, Spartak's archrival is CSKA Moscow, although this is a relatively recent rivalry that has only emerged after the collapse of the USSR. Seven of ten matches with the largest audience in Russian Premier League (including top three) were Spartak-CSKA derbies.[9] Historically, the most celebrated rivalry is with Dynamo Moscow, a fiercely contested matchup which is Russia's oldest derby. Matches against Lokomotiv Moscow and Zenit Saint Petersburg attract thousands of people as well, almost always resulting in packed stadia. Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, Spartak's rivalry with Dynamo Kyiv, one of the leaders of the USSR championship, was lost. Since Dynamo Kyiv now plays in the Ukrainian Premier League, both teams must qualify for UEFA tournaments to meet each other.

Since the mid-2000s the supporters of Spartak maintain brotherhood relations with Red Star Belgrade and Olympiacos ultras – a friendship based on common Orthodox faith and same club colours. Also fans of Spartak have generally friendly relationships with Torpedo Moscow supporters.


Until 2014, Spartak had never had its own stadium, with the team historically playing in various Moscow stadia throughout its history, even once playing an exhibition match in Red Square. The team played home games at various Moscow stadiums - especially at the Locomotiv and Luzhniki stadiums. After the purchase of the club by Andrei Chervichenko in the early 2000s, several statements were made about the speedy construction of the stadium, but construction did not begin.

After a controlling stake in the club was bought by Leonid Fedun, real steps were taken to promote the stadium project, and in 2006, the Government of Moscow allocated land at Tushino Aeropol at a size of 28.3 hectares for the construction of the stadium. The project involved the main arena of 42,000 people with natural lawn, sports, and an entertainment hall for tennis, handball, basketball and volleyball for 12,000 spectators. The ceremony of laying the first stone took place on June 2, 2007.

In February 2013, it was announced that as a result of a sponsorship deal with Otkritie FC Bank ("Discovery"), the stadium will be called Otkritie Arena for 6 years. The opening match at the new stadium took place on September 5, 2014, when Spartak drew with the Serbian side Red Star Belgrade (1-1). The first competitive match took place on September 14, 2014, in which Spartak defeated Torpedo Moscow 3–1 in the 7th round of the championship.


Current squad

As of 3 June 2021

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
2 DF  FRA Samuel Gigot
4 MF  NED Jorrit Hendrix
6 DF  BRA Ayrton
7 FW  RUS Aleksandr Sobolev
8 MF  NGA Victor Moses (on loan from Chelsea)
9 MF  RUS Reziuan Mirzov
10 MF  RUS Zelimkhan Bakayev
11 FW  SWE Jordan Larsson
14 DF  RUS Georgi Dzhikiya (captain)
15 MF  RUS Maksim Glushenkov
19 FW  ARG Ezequiel Ponce
20 MF  UZB Oston Urunov
22 MF  RUS Mikhail Ignatov
24 FW  NED Quincy Promes
29 DF  RUS Ilya Kutepov
32 GK  RUS Artyom Rebrov
No. Pos. Nation Player
33 MF  CZE Alex Král
38 DF  RUS Andrey Yeshchenko
39 DF  RUS Pavel Maslov
47 MF  RUS Roman Zobnin
54 MF  RUS Nail Umyarov
56 DF  RUS Ilya Gaponov
57 GK  RUS Aleksandr Selikhov
68 MF  RUS Ruslan Litvinov
74 MF  RUS Dmitri Markitesov
79 FW  RUS Aleksandr Rudenko
84 FW  RUS Stepan Oganesyan
92 DF  RUS Nikolai Rasskazov
98 GK  RUS Aleksandr Maksimenko
MF  RUS Aleksandr Lomovitsky
MF  RUS Georgi Melkadze
MF  RUS Artyom Timofeyev

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
MF  RUS Maksim Danilin (at Noah)
MF  NED Guus Til (at Feyenoord)
No. Pos. Nation Player
FW  RUS Svyatoslav Kozhedub (at Valmiera)

Other players under contract

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
FW  BRA Pedro Rocha (registered for Spartak-2, ineligible for the first team)


  • Owner: Vagit Alekperov, Leonid Fedun
  • Managing Director: Yevgeni Melezhikov
  • Director of Sports: Dmitri Popov
  • Director of communications: Anton Lisin
  • Head coach: Domenico Tedesco
  • Assistant coach: Andreas Hinkel
  • Goalkeeping coach: Max Urwantschky
  • Fitness coaches: Ramil Sharipov, Aleksandr Zaychenko
  • Masseur team: Yevgeni Lavrushko, Nikolai Barkalov, Andrei Pronchev
  • Medics: Mikhail Butovsky, Vladimir Vekovishchev, Gleb Chernov
  • Physiotherapists: Dmitri Mironov, Pavel Guzeyev, Jorge Catalán Piera
  • Reserves team head coach: Aleksei Lunin
  • Reserves team assistant coach: Aleksei Melyoshin
  • Reserves team goalkeeping coach: Vasili Kuznetsov


Affiliated clubs

Notable players

Had international caps for their respective countries, or held any club record. Players whose name is listed in bold represented their countries while playing for Spartak. For further list, see List of FC Spartak Moscow players.


  1. https://www.forbes.ru/milliardery/371161-alekperov-okazalsya-akcionerom-spartaka
  2. History of Spartak Archived 5 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine, fcspartak.ru (in Russian)
  3. "History of Spartak 1936" (in Russian). Retrieved 28 November 2007.
  4. Robert Edelman, Spartak Moscow: A History of the People's Team in the Worker's State. Cornell University Press, 2009.
  5. Зайкин, В. (20 July 1989). Трагедия в Лужниках. Факты и вымысел. Известия (in Russian) (202). Archived from the original on 15 September 2018. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
  6. All-star Spartak rise again, Eduard Nisenboim, uefa.com
  7. https://ria.ru/sport/20171207/1510383440.html
  9. Samye poseschaemye matchi v istorii chempionatov Rossii(in Russian)

Further reading