CSKA count on Vagner in Lille clash
CSKA Moscow will be relying on their maverick Brazilian marksman Vagner Love to spearhead the Red Army side's attack in their Champions League Group B encounter with the French reigning champions Lille on Tuesday.
Especially so as CSKA will be without their Ivory Coast sharpstooter Seidou Doumbia, who was red-carded in their Group B away match against Trabzonspor.
In this situation Vagner is the only candidate for the role of the leader of CSKA offensive line as their Czech forward Tomas Necid has failed to overcome injury and remains unavailable for the match.
The 27-year-old striker, who joined CSKA in 2004 in an eight-million-euro transfer deal, won an impressive set of trophies with the Moscow club including the 2005 edition of UEFA Cup.
The Rio de Janeiro-born player started his footballing career in Palmeiras in 2003, winning Brazil's second division scorers' contest with 19 goals in his first season with the club.
Winning two consecutive Russian league titles in 2005 and 2006 with CSKA along with his impressive performances in the European cups attracted the interest of the Brazilian national management in Love.
Though Vagner made his debut for the Brazilians in 2004 in a match with Costa Rica, he failed to win a regular place in the national side before 2007, when he won the Copa America title.
The following year Vagner, fresh from his success in the national side, showed off his outstanding scoring abilities in Russia to become the Russian league's first foreign player to top the scorers' chart with his season's 20 goals.
But in 2009 Vagner experienced serious family problems, which demanded his return to Brazil.
Although he had extended his contract with CSKA until 2014, Vagner went on to play on loan with Palmeiras, showing no intention to return to Russia as he was craving to play for Brazil at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Vagner has played 20 matches for Brazil overall scoring four goals but failed however to win a place in the national squad and had to return to CSKA in July 2010.
He has continued playing for the Red Army side but has looked a pale shadow of his old self.
The Brazilian striker repeatedly expressed his desire to return to his homeland to play there for Flamengo and finally obtained a promise from CSKA president Yevgeny Giner to release him if the Red Army side receives serious compensation.
Flamengo then swiftly offered CSKA only five million euro for 70 percent of the rights on Vagner.
The offer was described as inadequate both by the Russian club and Vagner himself.
"If Flamengo fail to issue any serious proposal I will continue playing for CSKA until my contract expires," Vagner said.
One way or another, the situation sparked Vagner back to life and he started scoring again both in the Russian and Champions leagues.
On Tuesday Vagner will have another chance to demonstrate that he's still a potent weapon against Lille.
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