The Russian Championship dates back to 1992. For all the time, only six clubs tried on gold medals. In this text, we will tell you in detail who they are – the champions of the RFPL.
Spartak – 10 wins
1992. The red and whites won their first Russian championship in the very first championship under the auspices of the RFU. 20 clubs took part in this tournament. The format of the championship was also unusual. If at that time there were bets on football , then there would definitely be a bet in the line on the clubs that will take from 1 to 4 places and all the rest. Initially, the teams were divided into two groups. After 18 rounds, the clubs that took the first four lines in the table continued to fight among themselves for the championship title, the rest – for survival. “Spartak” lost only once in 18 rounds – “Zenith” in St. Petersburg (2: 0). In the final part, the red and white also showed good football. The gold for the team of Oleg Romantsev was the meeting with the Moscow “Lokomotiv” a couple of rounds before the finish. The red and white defeated the “railroad workers” with a score of 4: 1 and began their golden journey.
1993. A year later, the championship became similar to what we are watching today. The championship was attended by 18 teams that played twice against each other. Red and white took the title again. At the end of the championship, their lead over the second line was 11 points. “Spartak” climbed to first place in the 4th round, from which no one was able to move him. The team won the champion title in the 32nd round. The game against “Ocean” from Nakhodka became gold. For registration of the championship “Spartak” was enough and a draw, which was won – 1: 1. Andrey Tikhonov became the author of the decisive goal for the Muscovites. This season was also remembered for the bright performance of the young Vladimir Beschastnykh. At 19, he has 18 league goals. Also, the 1993 tournament was the last for the legendary Spartak player Fyodor Cherenkov, after which he ended his career.
1994. It was in this season that the league assumed its usual form. For the first time in the history of the tournament, 16 teams competed for the title. However, the outcome was the same. Again Romantsev, again “Spartak”. Even the gap has not changed – 11 points. Formally, the red-whites did not have a golden match in this championship. The team won their third title in a row off the pitch. “Dynamo” the day before the match “Spartak” played with Moscow “Lokomotiv” in a draw, providing the sworn enemy with a trophy. The red-whites also won their match for beauty and history – they defeated the Sochi “Pearl” (5: 2).
1996. The hegemony of “Spartacus” was interrupted by daring namesake from Vladikavkaz, but only for one year. In 1996, the red and white won their fourth title. In the championship itself, the participants expanded to 18 teams again. And at the coaching post of “Spartak” Oleg Romantsev was replaced by Georgy Yartsev. This title was given with great difficulty. The large number of young people in the squad makes it especially valuable. That season, the gold medals were won by very young Vadim Evseev, Yegor Titov, Alexander Shirko, Vladimir Dzhubanov and others. As a result of 34 rounds, “Spartak” and “Alania” scored an equal number of points, so the champion was determined in an additional match (2: 1). The goals of Ilya Tsymbalar and Andrey Tikhonov brought another trophy to the collection for Muscovites.
1997. Oleg Romantsev returned to the coaching post at “Spartak” to win another championship. This season’s denouement would suit a Hollywood movie script! The daring Volgograd “Rotor” almost repeated the achievement of the Vladikavkaz “Alania” two years ago, but it was not enough. The fate of the gold medals was decided in the head-to-head duel of the leaders. “Spartak” endured the opponent and scored twice after the break. The goals of Valery Kechinov and Alexander Shirko brought another gold to the Muscovites’ piggy bank – 0: 2.
1998. For the round before the end of the championship, “Spartak” confidently took the gold in the match against Yaroslavl “Shinnik” (3: 1). Goals in this meeting were marked by Parfenov, Tikhonov and Baranov.
1999. The red-whites won their seventh gold two rounds before the finish. Formally, everything became clear in the championship race in the 27th round, when “Spartak” defeated the main rival, “Lokomotiv”, with a score of 3: 0. However, the title was officially won after a draw with Dynamo (1: 1). Yegor Titov scored a goal in the red-and-white lineup.
2000. The eighth title “Spartak” won again in the fight against “Lokomotiv”. At the end of the championship, the red and whites brought Semin’s team an impressive 8 points. The 29th round was decisive in the race, in which “Spartak” minimally defeated “Rostselmash”. The team’s young debutant Maxim Kalinichenko became the author of the golden ball.
2001. Last year in the era of domination of “Spartacus”. In this championship, the red and white had to work hard to win gold. The team did not spend almost half of the season in the first place, having climbed to the top for the first time only in the 14th round. However, there was enough gunpowder for the ninth gold. In the 29th round of the championship “Spartak” beat “Zenith” with a score of 3: 1. If the red-and-white postponed the decision of the issue, then the fate of the title would be decided in a face-to-face match with “Lokomotiv”, which in that season eventually became the second. The goals of Titov, Baranov and Parfenov became a beautiful point in the era of the dominance of red and white in Russian football.
2016/2017. The tenth championship “Spartak” waited an unbearably long time. Over the years without trophies, Muscovites have become the main target for memes and trolling. Everything was changed by Massimo Carrera – an Italian invited to Moscow to work in the headquarters of Dmitry Alenichev. As a result, it was this casual guest who was destined to play such an important role in the life of “Spartak”. Red and white won the championship again off the field. Officially, the title to Carrera’s team was brought by the victory of “Terek” over “Zenith” in St. Petersburg. Perhaps the red-and-white players of that season are the most unexpected RPL champions in a long time.
Spartak-Alania – one victory
1995. The only club that managed to break the hegemony of “Spartak” in the 90s. The namesakes of Muscovites from Vladikavkaz under the leadership of Valery Gazzaev managed to turn the course of history. It is symbolic that “Alania” won the trophy in the match against CSKA (2: 1), with which Valery Georgievich’s coaching fate will be closely connected in the future. The decisive goals were scored by Derkach and Tedeev. Vladikavkazians outstripped their closest competitor by 6 points. The 1995 championship title is still the main achievement of Ossetian football.
Lokomotiv – 3 wins
2002. Moscow “Lokomotiv” went for a long time to the top of the standings, but still got to it. The legendary tandem of President Valery Filatov and coach Yuri Semin allowed the railway workers to proudly say: “We are RFPL winners !” Following the results of 30 rounds, Lokomotiv and CSKA scored an equal number of points. According to the regulations, the champion was determined in a separate gold match. The spectators, gathered on a cold November evening at the Dynamo stadium, saw only one goal. The magic left of Dmitry Loskov brought Lokomotiv the championship title – 1: 0.
2004. Two years later, the “railroad” again regained the status of the strongest club in the league. Gazzaevsky CSKA again became the main competitor of “Lokomotiv” in the fight for gold. At the same time, the red-greens practically did not come out on top during the whole season, but in the end they jumped out from behind the backs of opponents on the finish line. The denouement for the red-greens came in the 30th round. “Lokomotiv” beat “Shinnik” Yaroslavl on the road with the score 0: 2. Young Bilyaletdinov and Sychev scored that evening.
2017/2018. The next championship title “Lokomotiv” was waiting for 14 years. It is symbolic that during this time the red-greens worked with a dozen different coaches, but they won gold medals again with Yuri Semin, who returned to the club in 2017. “Lokomotiv” confidently passed the season, although in the second half of the championship the team clearly acted on the moral and strong-willed, each victory was given with great effort. As a result, both competitors’ failures and their own character helped. In the 29th round, the “railroad workers” put the squeeze on “Zenith” on the 87th minute in their field. Vladislav Ignatiev shot from the right flank, and Eder from Portugal hammered the ball into the net.
CSKA – 6 wins
2003. CSKA were close to gold in 2002, but a hit by Dmitry Loskov stripped them of the title. In 2003, “Lokomotiv” quite early unstuck from the championship race, and “Spartak” experienced their own problems, so CSKA took its first Premier League title in history almost without obstacles. CSKA were in the lead throughout the championship. In the 29th round Gazzaev’s team defeated “Rotor” in Moscow with a score of 3: 0, removing all questions about the season winner. Olic, Popov and Gusev scored in that meeting. By the way, it was in this season that Igor Akinfeev made his debut in the army club.
2005. This year is still the best in CSKA history. Valery Gazzaev’s team won not only the championship and the Russian Cup, but also brought the country its first European Cup victory, becoming the owner of the UEFA Cup. In the championship, the red and blue were practically not in the lead, but in the end they taxied around the corner at the finish. The decisive match in the race was the CSKA match against “Dynamo” on the road – 1: 2. The goals of Alexei Berezutsky and Daniel Carvalho brought the CSKA second title.
2006. The following season, CSKA confirmed its status as the best club in Russia. The Red and Blues have won all domestic trophies, including the championship title. The main rival of the team this season was Moscow “Spartak”. It was with the red-and-white army that the army team played in the Super Cup, the final of the Russian Cup, and until recently competed in the championship. The army team could have lost the title, but in the end, in the 29th round, they swept away “Ray” from Vladivostok – 0: 4. The match became gold for the team, and its main characters were the Brazilians. Daniel Carvalho opened the score and Wagner Love scored a hat-trick.
2012/2013. The next time the main trophy of the country ended up in the hands of CSKA only 7 years later. Leonid Slutsky led the team to the fourth gold of the RPL. The army team rolled hard into the season, but by the middle of the championship the team played and came out on top, which they never gave to anyone. The golden match came out without sparkle. The champion of the red-blues made a goalless draw against “Kuban” one round before the end of the season.
2013/2014. The victory was even crazier a year later. CSKA did not even enter the top three for a long time, but after the winter break, the team was literally changed. In the first round after preparation, CSKA suffered a crushing defeat from Dynamo with a score of 4: 2, although by the break it was leading by two goals. It was after this match that the army team suddenly began to increase the pace. Leonid Slutsky’s team won 10 victories in a row, leaving Zenit and Lokomotiv without a championship. By the way, it was the meeting against the red-greens that became gold for CSKA. The only goal in that match was scored by Zoran Tosic.
2015/2016. The last championship of the Moscow army team for today. CSKA took this title quite hard, although the team spent almost the entire distance on the first line. At the finish line, “Rostov” by Kurban Berdyev got close to the Muscovites. The fate of the gold medals was decided in the 30th round. Army men had no right to misfire. The away match against Kazan “Rubin”, who also really wanted to help his former coach to become the champion again, was nervous. Alan Dzagoev’s goal on the 19th minute remained the only one, but in this meeting there was also a golden save performed by Igor Akinfeev at the end of the match.
Zenit – 6 wins
2007. For the first time in its history, “Zenith” won the championship. Dick Advocaat was in charge that season. The battle for the crown went on until the last round. The blue-white-blue won thanks to a goal from Shirla against the Ramenskiy “Saturn”, taking the trophy from “Spartak”. By the way, there was also a golden salvation in this match. At the 89th minute, Zenit’s dreams of the championship could have crumbled, but Alejandro Dominguez took the ball out of his own nine goals with his head.
2010. After 3 years, Zenit has become a formidable force in our football. The team was driven by a charismatic Italian Luciano Spalletti. The club’s budget made it possible to acquire the best in the RPL and beyond. “Zenith” won its second title quite easily, although it slightly blurred the holiday. The blue-white-blue could have won the championship in a head-to-head match against CSKA, but lost to the army team 1: 3. Fanfare had to be postponed until the match with “Rostov”, which turned into a defeat for the guests – 5: 0. Lazovich, Semak, Kerzhakov and Bukharov twice scored that day.
2011/2012. The third championship turned out to be unusual, because it took place in the transitional season. At first, the clubs played the usual 30 rounds, and then split into “eights” and played 14 more matches. “Zenith” became the champion three rounds before the finish. Once again, the club from St. Petersburg won a bright victory at home. This time over a good “Dynamo” – 2: 1. That evening, Roman Shirokov and Alexander Kerzhakov lit their names on the scoreboard.
2014/2015. The fourth championship “Zenith” was again brought by a foreign specialist. This time, cooperation with the Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas turned out to be successful. Two rounds before the end of the championship, “Zenith” was supposed to play with “Ufa” on the road, but the field in Bashkortostan was in poor condition, so the match was moved to St. Petersburg. For the third time in a row, “Zenith” won the title in the native stands. The match ended with the score 1: 1. The guests responded to the Hulk’s goal from a free-kick with their aimed kick.
2018/2019. For a long 4 years, the richest club in Russia did not win the champion title. As a result, the management of “Zenith” was disappointed in foreign coaches and believed in a domestic, home-grown specialist – Sergei Semak. It turned out not in vain. Semak managed to improve the game and confidently take the championship title. Zenit won its fifth gold in the air. Blue-white-blue just flew home after the away meeting with “Akhmat” (1: 1), when “Lokomotiv” lost to the local “Arsenal” in Tula and made the rival the winner.
In the current draw, even the coronavirus did not prevent “Zenith” from winning the sixth title. The club from St. Petersburg confidently left after a long pause and defended its title. The gold for the blue-white-blue was the match against “Krasnodar” away (2: 4).
“Ruby” – 2 wins
2008. The original team from Kazan gave everyone a sensation. They talked about the magic of Kurban Berdyev for a long time, but then few people imagined its scale. Like Zenit a year earlier, the Kazan team secured the title in Ramenskoye, in a match against the local Saturn. The main events of the meeting took place 15 minutes before the final whistle. First, Roman Adamov scored, but the hosts won back, and on the 89th minute Serb Savo Milosevic scored the decisive goal.
2009. A year later, the citizens of Kazan repeated their achievement. Of course, “Rubin” Berdyev was criticized for excessive pragmatism, but the winners are still not judged. This time the Kazan team broke away from the second place by as much as 8 points. And they also won the second gold at their native stands, playing a goalless draw against Zenit St. Petersburg.
These were all RFPL champions by year. Perhaps a new club will appear on this list next season, who knows.