Spartak Moscow. The champions

Football club Spartak Moscow fans were devastated in summer 2016. And being a fan since I was 3, I was among them.

Winning 9 out of 10 national titles in the nineties, the team has been losing for 15 years. And the fans' new hope, former player legend and a new coach Dmitry Alenichev, failed.

More, hopes were high for 2016/17 season, but the very first games brought a humiliating elimination from Europe League in a 2-game match with an underdog team from Cyprus.

Alenichev resigned and his newly assigned defense coach Massimo Carrera was chosen to head the team towards a few games while the club was negotiating with other candidates. The talks failed but the team kept winning under Carrera's rule, while he was seen mostly as a motivation builder.

He was promoted to be the new head coach, but the miracle stayed. The team went on to crush their opponents from CSKA in the country’s most heated derby. The players scored unimaginable goals in the additional time with those considered veterans showing the never before seen skills and young newcomers swiftly becoming Russian best players.

The miracle stayed with the Red-White. They won the league for the first time in 16 years. They are back.

This story was printed as an album. Additional circulation copies are available here.