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    Vagner Love named player of the year by Russian trainers

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    CSKA Moscow's Brazilian striker Vagner Love has been named Russian Premier League Player of the Year for 2008, becoming only the second foreigner to win the award.

    MOSCOW, November 27 (RIA Novosti) - CSKA Moscow's Brazilian striker Vagner Love has been named Russian Premier League Player of the Year for 2008, becoming only the second foreigner to win the award.

    Trainers from all of the Russian Premier League's 16 clubs took part in the vote, which was organized by the Sport Den Za Dnyom paper.

    Love, 24, has been at CSKA since 2004. He scored 20 goals in 26 appearances in this season's Russian Premier League as CSKA took second place, striking up a lethal partnership with young Russian forward Alan Dzagoyev. Seven of his goals came in his last two games of the season as he scored four times in a 4-0 win over FC Moskva and a hat-trick in a 4-0 victory over champions Rubin. He is also the 2008/09 UEFA Cup joint top scorer with five goals.

    He has yet to comment on the award. Second place was taken by Love's teammate, Yuri Zhirkov. Third place went to the Russian and Rubin FC captain Sergei Semak.

    During his time at the former Red Army club, Love has won two Russian Premier League titles, and in 2005 helped the team become the first Russian side to win a European trophy, scoring the third goal as CSKA defeated Sporting Lisbon 3-1 in the UEFA Cup final. He has also been called up for the national side, scoring five goals in 21 games.

    Love, real name Vagner Silva de Souza, reportedly got his nickname after being found with a girl in his room at the team hotel when he was playing for the Brazilian side Palmeiras.

    CSKA trainer Valery Gazzayev, speaking yesterday at a press-conference ahead of tonight's UEFA Cup tie between the Moscow club and Poles Lech Poznan, called Love, "One of the best strikers in Europe."

    "He always gets his goals," he said. "You can talk about technique, about coordination, but the main thing is the ability to score goals."

    He also added that, "Vagner speaks Russian quite well, and has adapted well. He has proved himself a real leader this season."

    Love has been linked with a number of European clubs, including Manchester City. However, he appears in no hurry to leave Moscow unless approached by one of the giants of the European game.

    "Every time the season comes to an end or the transfer window is about to open I am linked with a move to another club. However, as you see, I'm still playing for CSKA, and I get immense satisfaction from doing so," the striker told the Russian Sport-Express daily recently.

    Love's former teammate and compatriot, Daniel Carvalho, became the first foreigner to be named player of the year in 2005. Last year's award was won by Zenit's Konstantin Zyrianov.

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