For the first time in history a team from the Moldovan League, after Sheriff Tiraspol managed to sneak into the group stage of the Champions League
With just over 20 years of foundation, Sheriff Tiraspol made UEFA Champions League history by being the first team to compete for the Moldovan League in the most important club tournament in the world.
Founded in 1997, this team that does not belong to a world recognized country, may be lucky enough to be visited by Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski or Kevin de Bruyne. All amid Marxist symbols and monuments to Lenin.
The history of this team cannot be explained without mixing politics, and it is that the group was born after the Cold War in Transnistria, a territory not recognized worldwide, but which is separated from Moldova by the Dniester River.
Transnistria remained in the past and with the memory of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), as they did not adapt to Western culture and even adopted Russian and the Cyrillic alphabet as their own, leaving Moldova aside.
In 1992 war broke out between Moldova and this territory. Finally and after thousands of deaths, the territory that today coexists in peace was established. Although Moldova does not recognize them, it allows them to exist freely.
It was there that little by little the love for football began with Tiras Tiraspol in 1996, which is the club’s precedent. However, a year later, the Sheriff company, which is a pillar in the territory’s economy, founded the club that made history on Wednesday by beating Dinamo Zagreb and landing a ticket to the Champions League.
The current squad has a mix of interesting nationalities, from Brazilians to Moldovans, Norms, Greeks, Serbs, Ukrainians, etc. All commanded by the Ukrainian Yuriy Vernydub, who has already achieved the most important event in the footballing history of the region.
Since 2001 they have tried to sneak into the Champions League via qualification, since the Moldavian League, which is where they play, does not automatically give places, so they have to go through three knockout rounds and a play-off. After 20 years of trying, they got the job done.
Sheriff Tiraspol plays in the Stadionul Sheriff with capacity for 14,300 people. To get to the site, take the avenue Karl Leibknecht, a man who stood out as the founding of the German Communist Party.
In addition, when arriving at the property, the communist symbols will give an unusual welcome to millionaire clubs such as PSG, Manchester City or Chelsea, current European champions.
In an unprecedented event that shows the magic of football, Sheriff Tiraspol will be able to win the sporting respect that, politically, he has not had due to his conflicts with Moldova.