Levante UD

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Levante Unión Deportiva, S.A.D. logo.svg
Full name Levante Unión Deportiva, S.A.D.
Nickname(s) Les Granotes (The Frogs)
Founded 1909; 106 years ago (1909)
Ground Ciutat de València, Valencia,
Valencia, Spain
Ground Capacity 26,354
Chairman Quico Catalán
Manager Lucas Alcaraz
League La Liga
2013–14 10th
Website Club home page
Current season

Levante Unión Deportiva, S.A.D. (Spanish: [leˈβante uˈnjon deporˈtiβa], Valencian: Llevant Unió Esportiva [ʎeˈvant uniˈo espoɾˈtiva]) is a Spanish football club based in Valencia, in the namesake community.

Founded on 9 September 1909 it plays in La Liga, holding home games at Estadi Ciutat de València.


Early years[edit]

Levante UD was originally founded in 1909 as Levante Fútbol Club, taking their name from the "Levante" beach in La Malvarrosa, and was one of the pioneering football clubs in Valencia. Local rivals Valencia CF were not formed until 1919; however, another club, Cabanyal FC, had been playing in the city since 1903.

The team's earliest games were played at La Platjeta, near the docks on a plot of land owned by a perfume entrepreneur. Its next ground was also near the port area, and the club gradually began to become associated with the working class. In 1919 the side played Valencia for the first time, losing 0–1 – the game marked the inauguration of the recently formed new ground at Algirós; in 1928 Levante FC won their first trophy, the Valencian Championship.

1909 also saw the birth of Gimnástico Fútbol Club, who originally played at Patronato de la Juventud Obrera, being then named Universitario Fútbol Club. By 1920, the team had become Real Gimnástico Club de Fútbol, after being granted royal patronage by Alfonso XIII. In 1920 Gimnástico also reached the final of the Campeonato de Valencia, but the game was never played; in 1930, with the emergence of the Second Spanish Republic, they dropped the Real from their name.

In 1934–35 both Levante and Gimnástico made their debut in the second division, when the league was expanded from ten teams to twenty-four. In 1935 the former won the Campeonato Levante-Sur, a competition that featured teams from Valencia, Murcia and Andalusia,[1] and subsequently reached the semi-finals of the Spanish Cup, consecutively beating Valencia and FC Barcelona before losing to eventual runners-up CE Sabadell FC.

Copa de la España Libre[edit]

During the Spanish Civil War Levante and Gimnástico played in the Mediterranean League, finishing fifth and sixth respectively – teams from this league also competed in the Copa de la España Libre (Free Spain Cup). It was originally intended that the top four teams from the league would enter the cup, but Barcelona opted to tour Mexico and the United States and, as a result, Levante took its place.

The first round of the competition was a mini-league with the top two teams, Levante and Valencia, qualifying for the final. On 18 July 1937, Levante defeated their city rivals 1–0 at the Montjuïc.[2]

The merger[edit]

During the civil war Levante's ground was destroyed, but the club's squad remained intact. In contrast Gimnástico had a ground, Estadio de Vallejo, but had lost most of their players.

As a result, the two clubs merged in 1939 to become Unión Deportiva Levante-Gimnástico, changing two years later to Levante Unión Deportiva, which club colours in the 2000s also dating from this era (the blaugrana home colours were originally those of Gimnástico, whilst the black and white away kit, was also used by Levante FC in the beginning).

La Liga[edit]

Before a game in March 2013

Levante had to wait until the 1960s to make their La Liga debut. In 1963 the club finished runner-up in Group 2 of the second division, beating Deportivo de La Coruña 4–2 on aggregate in the promotion play-offs. During the first top flight season it managed to win both games against Valencia, managing a 5–1 home win against Barcelona in the 1964–65 campaign but being relegated nonetheless after losing in the playoffs against CD Málaga, and spent most of the following two decades in the second and third divisionsSegunda División B would not be created until 1977; in the early 1980s, Dutch superstar Johan Cruyff played half a season for the club, retiring three years later.

After winning 2003–04's second division Levante returned to the top level, but survived only one season. Finishing third in 2005–06 it returned for two additional campaigns, the decisive match in the 2006–07 season being a 4–2 home win against Valencia courtesy of Riga Mustapha (two goals), Salva and Laurent Courtois.

Levante's financial status worsened, however, and there were reports that the players had only received approximately one fifth of their contractual payments – news reports stated that the club had incurred a debt of over 18 million in payments due their players. The team plummeted down the standings, and it was confirmed that they would be playing in the second division in 2008–09, with several matches to go; the players protested at their lack of payments at one point, refusing to move for several seconds after the opening whistle against Deportivo, and later announcing that they would issue a job action during the season-ending game at Real Madrid.

The action was resolved when league officials announced that a benefit game would be played between Levante team members, and a team made up of players from the first division, with all benefits going to pay the wages due to the players.

On 13 June 2010 Levante returned to the first division, after a 3–1 home win against already relegated CD Castellón. It lost in the final round 0–4 at Real Betis, but its opponents only managed to finish with the same points as fourth.[3]

Under the manager who led the team back to the top flight, Luis García Plaza, Levante finally retained its division status in the 2010–11 season. During one point of the league's second round of matches it was the third team with most points, only behind Barcelona and Real Madrid and losing just once in 12 games, precisely against the latter team.[4]

On 26 October 2011, during round nine of the season, Levante defeated Real Sociedad 3–2 to move top of the table on 23 points.[5] It was the first time in the club's history it reached the highest ranking in the top division – in the process, they recorded seven straight wins after drawing the first two games;[6] the club eventually finished in sixth position after defeating Athletic Bilbao 3–0 at home in the last match, thus qualifying for the UEFA Europa League for the first time in its history.[7]


Recent history[edit]

Season Pos. Pl. W D L GS GA P Cup Notes
2004–05 1D 18 38 9 10 19 39 58 37 Relegated
2005–06 2D 3 42 20 14 8 53 39 74 1st round Promoted
2006–07 1D 15 38 10 12 16 37 53 42 Last 16
2007–08 1D 20 38 7 5 26 33 75 26 Last 16 Relegated
2008–09 2D 8 42 18 10 14 59 59 64
2009–10 2D 3 42 19 14 9 63 45 71 Promoted
2010–11 1D 14 38 12 9 17 41 52 45 Last 16
2011–12 1D 6 38 16 7 15 54 50 55 Quarter Finals Qualified to UEFA Europa League
2012–13 1D 11 38 12 10 16 40 57 46 Last 16

European record[edit]

Season Competition Round Opposition Home Away Aggregate
2012–13 UEFA Europa League Play-off round Scotland Motherwell 1–0 2–0 3–0
Group L Netherlands Twente 3–0 0–0 2nd
Germany Hannover 96 2–2 1–2
Sweden Helsingborg 1–0 3–1
Round of 32 Greece Olympiacos 3–0 1–0 4–0
Round of 16 Russia Rubin Kazan 0–0 0–2 (aet) 0–2

Season to season[edit]

  • As Gimnástico FC
Season Division Place Copa del Rey
1929/30 3rd
1930/31 5th
1931/32 3rd
1932/33 3rd
1933/34 3rd
1934/35 6th
1935/36 4th
  • As Levante FC
Season Division Place Copa del Rey
1929/30 2nd
1930/31 6th
1931/32 1st
1932/33 4th
1933/34 5th
1934/35 3rd Semifinals
1935/36 3rd
  • As Levante UD
Season Division Place Copa del Rey
1939/40 1st
1940/41 3rd
1941/42 8th
1942/43 Regional 1st
1943/44 1st
1944/45 2nd
1945/46 1st
1946/47 6th
1947/48 5th
1948/49 9th
1949/50 13th
1950/51 13th
1951/52 14th
1952/53 2nd
1953/54 1st
1954/55 15th
1955/56 1st
1956/57 11th
1957/58 4th
1958/59 2nd
1959/60 6th
1960/61 6th
1961/62 6th
1962/63 2nd
1963/64 10th
1964/65 14th
Season Division Place Copa del Rey
1965/66 5th
1966/67 4th
1967/68 14th
1968/69 3rd
1969/70 4th
1970/71 12th
1971/72 6th
1972/73 1st
1973/74 19th
1974/75 2nd
1975/76 1st
1976/77 18th
1977/78 2ªB 4th
1978/79 2ªB 1st
1979/80 10th
1980/81 9th
1981/82 19th
1982/83 2nd
1983/84 2nd
1984/85 2ªB 11th
1985/86 2ªB 10th
1986/87 2nd
1987/88 2ªB 6th
1988/89 2ªB 1st
1989/90 15th
1990/91 19th
Season Division Place Copa del Rey
1991/92 2ªB 11th
1992/93 2ªB 9th Second round
1993/94 2ªB 3rd Third round
1994/95 2ªB 1st
1995/96 2ªB 1st Third round
1996/97 9th Second round
1997/98 22nd First Round
1998/99 2ªB 1st Round of 16
1999/00 7th Preliminary round
2000/01 8th Round of 32
2001/02 19th 2nd round
2002/03 4th 1st round
2003/04 1st Round of 16
2004/05 18th 3rd round
2005/06 3rd 1st round
2006/07 15th Round of 32
2007/08 20th Round of 16
2008/09 8th 2nd round
2009/10 3rd 2nd round
2010/11 14th Round of 16
2011/12 6th Quarter-finals
2012/13 11th Round of 16
2013/14 10th Quarterfinals

Levante FC

Gimnástico FC

Levante FC + Gimnástico FC: Levante UD

Current squad[edit]

As of 30 January 2015[8]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Spain GK Jesús Fernández
2 Spain DF Iván López
3 Spain DF Toño
4 Spain DF David Navarro (vice-captain)
5 Nigeria FW Kalu Uche
6 Greece DF Loukas Vyntra
7 Spain FW David Barral
8 Morocco MF Nabil El Zhar
9 Brazil FW Rafael Martins
10 Spain MF Rubén García
11 Spain MF José Luis Morales
12 Spain DF Juanfran (captain)
No. Position Player
13 Spain GK Diego Mariño
14 Spain DF Iván Ramis
15 Greece DF Nikos Karabelas
17 Spain MF Jordi Xumetra
18 Spain FW Víctor Casadesús
19 Spain DF Pedro López
21 Austria MF Andreas Ivanschitz
22 Mali MF Mohamed Sissoko
23 Senegal MF Papakouli Diop
24 Mozambique MF Simão Mate
25 Spain MF José Mari
26 Spain MF Víctor Camarasa

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Spain GK Javi Jiménez (on loan at Alcorcón)
Spain FW Roger Martí (on loan at Valladolid)


Notable former players[edit]

Note: this list includes players that have appeared in at least 100 league games and/or have reached international status.

see also Category:Levante UD footballers

Famous coaches[edit]

Other managers[edit]

see also Category:Levante UD managers


Estadi Ciutat de València was opened on 9 September 1969, with capacity for 25,354 spectators. Dimensions are 107x69 meters.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]