It was used mostly for football matches, but also athletics and hosted the home matches of Sporting Clube de Portugal. It was named after Sporting founder José Alfredo Holtreman Roquette, known as José Alvalade after his family, the Holtremans, who were Viscounts of Alvalade and provided the land for the stadium to be built on.
During the 1990s, it was also one of the most prominent venue for rock concerts in Portugal, hosting tour dates of many high-profile international artists, including Bon Jovi, Depeche Mode, U2, R.E.M., David Bowie and many others. This era was inaugurated in 29th June 1989 with a concert by The Cure, during their Prayer Tour promoting the album Disintegration.
^Portugal was 5-1 up at 68 minutes, but then one of the Angola players was injured. All the team's 7 substitutions have been used by then and 4 Angola's players had already been sent-off. Hence the game was abandoned at that time with the said scoreline, due to Angola not being allowed to play with 6 players on the field.