. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soccer 'Oscars' Draw Stars to Moscow

With the Russian soccer league opening its fifth season over the weekend, it was not an easy job to gather all its top players for the first annual "Oscar-like" award presentation at Stanislavsky Theater in the center of Moscow.


More than 100 guests attended Monday night's black-tie ceremony honoring 1995's best players and coaches. The ceremony included nominees in 11 categories.


Former Spartak Moscow captain Viktor Onopko, who led the club to the quarterfinals of the European Champions' League, was chosen as Russian soccer's most valuable player. In the off-season, Onopko moved from Spartak to lesser-known Oviedo in the Spanish league, and was not present to receive his award due to team commitments.


To no one's surprise Russian champion Spartak-Alania Vladikavkaz walked away with the most awards by a single club. Omari Tetradze got best defender, Anatoly Kanishev was voted the top forward and Valery Gazzaev received an award for the best coach.


Andrei Kanchelskis, who received the best foreign-based player award, was able to attend following Everton's 2-0 win Saturday in Middlesbrough.


Kanchelskis arrived in Moscow on Sunday with his wife, Inna, and 2-year-old son, Andrei.


The former Manchester United player, who went to Everton early in the English season, said he does not regret his move. "I'm happy with Everton and hope to stay there," said Kanchelskis, who still lives in Manchester and commutes half an hour by car daily. "Liverpool is primarily an industrial city and for my family it is better if we remain in Manchester."


Kanchelskis was among several top players on the Russian squad who refused to play in the 1994 World Cup after a long feud with team management.


But the midfielder said he is looking forward to this summer's European Championship finals in England, adding that the bonus money has improved.


"I talked with several English internationals, and we're getting at least what they were offered, if not better," he said.


The dedication to soccer award went to legendary coach Mikhail Yakushin, 85, who led Dinamo Moscow on the first tour of Britain by a Soviet team in 1945.


(For other awards, see Scorecard.)