Club León

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Club León logo.svg
Full nameClub León Fútbol Club
Nickname(s)Los Panzas Verdes (The Green Bellies)
La Fiera (The Wild Beast)
Los Esmeraldas (The Emeralds)
Los Verdiblancos (The Green and Whites)
FoundedAugust 20, 1944; 78 years ago (1944-08-20)
GroundEstadio León
OwnerGrupo Pachuca
ChairmanJesús Martínez Murguia
ManagerNicolás Larcamón
LeagueLiga MX
Apertura 2022Regular phase: 10th
Final phase: Reclassification
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Club León Fútbol Club, also known as León, is a Mexican professional football club based in León, Guanajuato, that competes in the Liga MX, the top flight of Mexican football.

León has won the Primera División de México/Liga MX title eight times in 1948, 1949, 1952, 1956, 1992, the Apertura in 2013, the Clausura in 2014, and the Apertura in 2020. After winning the League and the México Cup in 1949, it became the first Mexican campeonísimo. León was the CONCACAF Champions' Cup runner-up in 1993. It is the second-only Mexican club to win back-to-back championships.

The club qualified for the Champion's Cup in 1998 until it was eliminated in the semi-final. The team has been a consistent contender for the Primera División since 2002. It failed to reach the Primera División due to a series of mediocre performances in the playoffs despite good plays during the regular season until the 2012 Clausura tournament. Ten years later, León reached the Primera División after defeating Correcaminos UAT. In the Apertura 2013, it won the championship by defeating América with a score of 5–1 which earned it its sixth championship star. In Clausura 2014, it became champion for the second year in a row by defeating Pachuca with 4–3, giving it its seventh championship star and the title of "bicampeones". In recent years, Club Leon has attracted a non-Spanish speaking football fanbase and managed to secure new Spanish-language broadcast partnerships with Fox Sports Latinoamérica in Mexico and Telemundo Deportes in the U.S. Since 2016, TUDN holds the U.S. broadcasting rights to León home games.

León is ranked No. 29 in the IFFHS Central and North America's best clubs of the 20th century.[2]


The club was created from an application by Unión de Curtidores which merged with Selección de Guanajuato. With the money raised, the directive hired Marcial Ortiz, Raul Varela, Alfonso Montemayor, Salvador Ramírez, Conrado Muniz, Vicente Serrano, Pepe Cortes, "Sticks" Ramírez, Elpidio Sánchez, and Joaquín Source Duillo Dobles. It participated in the Liga Mayor's second season (1944–45). The team comprised Argentinian players and Miguel Rugilo that served as coach and goalkeeper holder. Battaglia played defense plus two fronts; Marcos Aurelio scored 14 goals with Ángel Fernández. The team debuted at Patria Stadium on August 20, 1944, against Atlante and lost by a score of 5–3.

In the 1945–46 season another team appeared in the city: the San Sebastián de León. They placed fourth out of 16 teams with 30 games, 17 wins, 4 draws, 9 losses for 38 points. Their top scorer, with 24 goals, Alberto Mendoza.

In the 1946–47 season notable players joined, one of whom was Adalberto Lopez, who scored 33 goals. In general, the team had a great campaign being runner-up with 41 points and maintained a fourteen-game winning streak. Another important element was Marcos Aurelio, who highlighted with 16 goals. A match against Atlante was scheduled place in Mexico City on June 1, 1947, in the Stadium Insurgentes (now Estadio Ciudad de los Deportes) which took place in León, but had to switch venues due to an epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease afflicting the Bajío region

In a match against Club America on May 9, 1946, Florencio Caffaratti accidentally touched an electrical wire after scoring a goal. Alfonso Montemayor rescued him. Subsequently, Caffaratti gave a gold coin to Montemayor with the inscription: "In appreciation of Montemayor by F. Caffaratti."


When José María Casullo coached Club León, the greens lost seven times, three of them against Atlas Gold. The team tied at 36 points with the Jalisco Gold at first place. Jalisco Gold broke the tie with a score of 2–0.


Club León defeated Asturias 2–0 with goals by Adalberto López to prevent a tie with Atlas and Guadalajara who remained a point, and Leon became the first to win the tournament campeonísimo cup after defeating Atlante 3–0 on August 14, 1949.


Club León switched coaches to Antonio López Herranz. Antonio Carbajal joined the team with the return of Marcos Aurelio, Sergio Bravo, and Saturnino Martínez. The team played against a Guadalajara team coached by José María Casullo. León won both games of the year with scores of 1–0. In the penultimate round, León lost to Guadalajara by 1 point.

In the following season, the team remained in third place at 27 points. For the 1953–54 season it finished eighth with 21 points.


The season's roster increased to 14 teams. León won the best streak in club history with 12 wins and 7 draws before losing against Tampico (1–0). The final game was played at the University Olympic Stadium Mexico City, where León defeated Oro (4–2) and Toluca.

In 1956–57 León lost to Guadalajara. In 1957–58 they reached fifth place but won the Cup title.


León remained in fifth place in the 1960–61 season with 26 points, fifth place in 1961–62 with 25 points, ninth place in 1962–63 with 25 points, ninth place in 1963–64 with 25 points, seventh place in 1964–65 with 30 points, ninth place in 1965–66 with 28 points, fifth place in 1966–67 with 34 points, fifth place in 1967–68 with 35 points, seventh place in 1968–69 with 31 points, and seventh place in 1969–70 with 31 points and when Hugo Sanchez join club leon they won the apertura 1975 si club leon was the best team back in the days on the 70s and late 80s.


For the Mexico 70 Tourney, there were two technical changes: the starter Argentine Luis Grill was replaced, but was reinstated after Antonio Carbajal left, as a result, left with 33 points to fourth overall Sergio Anaya new stand becomes scorer the contest with 16 touchdowns, while Luis Estrada mark 13 goals. 1970–71 players arrive, Jorge Davino, Roberto Salomone and Juan Valiente who scored ten goals, the club was led by Carbajal and ranked fourth with 38 points.

In 1972–73, initiate driven A. Carbajal was replaced by Rafael Albrecht that served as player and coach. The final game was against Cruz Azul.

In 1973–74 the team failed to qualify at fifth place with 40 points.

First relegation[edit]

In 1986–87 Jorge Davino scored 10 points in 19 days and start the 31 day leon when back to second division and they appear back on first division on May 10, 2012 and they won the apertuna when they arrived to first division.


The Esmeraldas returned to the Primera División for the 1990–91 season and were coached by Victor Manuel Vucetich, who debuted in the top flight and led the entire tournament. He led the club in sixth place with 41 points but did not qualify to be third in group 3, and Martin Uribe Francisco Peña highlighted with 13 and 12 goals.

Second relegation[edit]

Robert Zermeno cost the team and landed them in last place with 19 points.

After relegation, the club was sold to Argentine businessman Carlos Ahumada.

On 19 November 2010, Grupo Pachuca purchased the club.[3]

Return to Primera División[edit]

Argentine Gustavo Matosas began leading León on 7 January 2012, after being hired in September 2011.[4] During the Apertura 2011 campaign, he could not have a presence off the bench or be registered as coach because he had coached Querétaro FC in the same tournament. Matosas' 10 wins, 4 draws, and 0 defeats in 14 regular season fixtures, resulted in an ERA of 70.83% and the overall leader, helping them earn a direct qualification to semi-finals of the play-offs. In the semi-finals, they faced Correcaminos UAT and won 1–0 in the second match before facing the Lobos BUAP in the final, winning by an aggregate score of 7–3 and the right to play again in the Promotional Final. Facing 2011 Apertura championship winners Correcaminos UAT, León won by an aggregate score of 6–2, thus returning to the Mexican top-flight for the 2012–13 season.[5] León had struggled for their fourth final for promotion after losing against Irapuato in 2003, Dorados de Sinaloa in 2005, and Indios de Ciudad Juárez in 2008.

León won both tournaments (the Apertura and Clausura) of the 2013–14 season and became the first team in Mexico's history to win two consecutive championship titles twice — winning the first of these during the 1947–48 and 1948–49 leagues consecutively.[6][7]

Matosas and León parted ways after failing to make it to the 2014 Apertura championship stage.[8] Argentine Juan Antonio Pizzi was named as his replacement.[9]

On 31 January 2016, following a 3–1 away loss to Tigres UANL, Pizzi left the charge to join Chile as their new manager and was subsequently was replaced by Luis Fernando Tena.[10] The club managed to reach the semi-final stage of the Clausura championship, losing out to sibling club and eventual winners C.F. Pachuca with an aggregate score of 3–2.[11]

Following a lackluster beginning to the 2016 Apertura where León summed up 4 points within 7 league matches, Tena was let go and Argentina Javier Torrente was brought in.[12][13] Regardless of the uninspiring start, the club managed to reach the championship stage, losing to eventual winners Tigres UANL in the semi-finals by an aggregate score of 3–1.[14]

In August 2017, Torrente was let go after a year as manager[15] and was replaced by Gustavo Díaz.[16]

On 18 September 2018, Ignacio Ambríz was named manager of León, replacing Díaz.[17] During the 2019 Clausura, he helped León attain the records of most consecutive wins with eleven[18] and the most points attained during the 17-match tournament format (41 points).[19] They faced Tigres UANL in the Clausura championship final but lost following an aggregate score of 1–0.[20] Regardless, Ambríz's feats with the club contributed to him being named best manager at the conclusion of the season.[21]

After a first place finish with 40 points in the Guardianes 2020 general table, on 13 December, León won the league title defeating Club Universidad Nacional with an aggregate score of 3–1, becoming Mexico's joint fourth most successful team with eight titles in total alongside Cruz Azul.[22]

León Stadium[edit]

Night view of the León Stadium.

Estadio León (unofficially known as "Nou Camp") is a football stadium in León, Guanajuato, Mexico. The stadium hosts Club León and some lower division teams and subsidiaries. It is also used for special events such as presentations and musicals.

Construction of the stadium started on August 18, 1965, and at the end of 1966, the finished building that would house Los Esmeraldas was completed.

On 1 February 1967, the stadium was inaugurated with a match between Santos of Brazil and River Plate of Argentina, ending in a 2–1 victory for Santos.

Estadio León has hosted 2 World Cups: the first was 1970 FIFA World Cup, with guests like West Germany, Peru, Bulgaria and Morocco, as well as hosting the quarterfinal game between West Germany and England; and the 1986 FIFA World Cup. the stadium hosted group matches featuring the Soviet Union, France, Hungary and Canada, as well as a second-round match between the USSR and Belgium.

On 8 March 2017, judiciary officials of the city of León determined that ownership of Estadio Leon is the property of previous Club Leon owners Zermeño Reyes and Héctor González.[23]

On 9 October 2020, the club departed from the stadium following a ruling that transferred ownership to a private interest. As a result, the club declared it would play its remainder of tournament matches at Estadio Victoria, home stadium of Club Necaxa.[24] The club returned following one match at their temporary stadium.

The stadium is planned to become a historical stadium with parts of the stadium being converted into a museum. Talks are in place to start building a new stadium in León for the future team though there is no set date.[25]


The oldest rival of Club León is Unión de Curtidores, a rivalry which began as both teams reside in León, Guanajuato. Unión de Curtidores was founded in 1928, and during its early years, was the dominant team in León. When they joined the Liga Mayor (now Liga MX) in 1943, part of the team merged with Selección de Guanajuato and took the name of Unión-León, which later became Club León.

Despite the rivalry against Los Curtidores being the oldest in León, the prominent one today is against Irapuato, who also appeared in the Clásico del Bajio, which has been fought in both the Primera División and the Primera División A (now Ascenso MX).

Another rivalry is with Pachuca C.F., mainly because of similar owners for the two clubs. On July 11, 2018, Club León and Pachuca met in a friendly match played in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Pachuca won the match 3–1 in front of 18,321 fans.[26]



Primera División / Liga MX
Ascenso MX
Copa México / Copa MX
Campeón de Campeones
  • Champions (5): 1948, 1949, 1956, 1971, 1972
  • Runners-up (5): 1952, 1958, 1967, 1992, 2021


Leagues Cup

Friendly tournaments[edit]

Copa León
  • Champions (2): 2004, 2012
Torneo Cuna del Fútbol Mexicano
  • Champions (1): 2012
Copa Telcel
  • Champions (1): 2013
Trofeo Joan Gamper
  • Runners-up (1): 2014

Current staff[edit]


Position Staff
Chairman Mexico Jesús Martínez Murguia
Director of football Mexico Rodrigo Fernández

Source: Liga MX

As of 28 November 2022[citation needed]
Position Staff
Manager Argentina Nicolás Larcamón
Assistant manager Vacant
Goalkeeper coach Vacant
Fitness coach Vacant
Physiotherapists Mexico Víctor Vera
Mexico José Limón
Team doctor Mexico Valentín Villa


First-team squad[edit]

As of 1 July 2022[27][28]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK Mexico MEX Alfonso Blanco
2 DF France FRA Julien Célestine
6 DF Colombia COL William Tesillo
7 FW Chile CHI Víctor Dávila
8 MF Mexico MEX José Iván Rodríguez
9 MF Uruguay URU Federico Martínez
10 MF Mexico MEX Luis Montes (Captain)
11 MF Mexico MEX Elías Hernández
12 MF Costa Rica CRC Joel Campbell
13 MF Ecuador ECU Ángel Mena
17 MF Mexico MEX Jorge Díaz
18 FW Argentina ARG Lucas Di Yorio (on loan from Pachuca)
No. Pos. Nation Player
19 DF Colombia COL Yairo Moreno
20 FW Mexico MEX Alfonso Alvarado (on loan from Monterrey)
21 DF Colombia COL Jaine Barreiro
23 DF Ecuador ECU Byron Castillo
24 DF Mexico MEX Osvaldo Rodríguez
25 DF Mexico MEX Paul Bellón (on loan from UdeG)
26 MF Mexico MEX Fidel Ambríz
28 DF Mexico MEX David Ramírez
29 FW Mexico MEX Juan Pablo Rangel
30 GK Mexico MEX Rodolfo Cota
33 DF Mexico MEX Pedro Hernández
34 DF Mexico MEX Óscar Villa

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. Pos. Nation Player
MF Argentina ARG Santiago Colombatto (at Famalicão)
MF Colombia COL Omar Fernández (at Puebla)
FW Mexico MEX José Enrique Díaz (at UAZ)
No. Pos. Nation Player
FW Mexico MEX Armando León (at Oaxaca)
FW Mexico MEX Josué Navarro (at Pachuca)

Other players under contract[edit]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
GK Mexico MEX Bernardo Aguilar
MF Mexico MEX Jesse Zamudio

Reserve teams[edit]

León GEN
Reserve team that plays in the Liga TDP, the fourth level of the Mexican league system.

Former players[edit]

Top Goal Scorers[edit]

No.[29] Name LEA CUP CDC CON LIB Total
1 Mexico Adalberto "Dumbo" López 126 9 1 - - 136
2 Argentina Mauro Boselli 105 20 - 1 4 130
3 Brazil Tita 88 2 - 7 - 97
4 Argentina Roberto Salomone 95 1 96
5 Mexico Luis Estrada 91 4 1 - 96
6 Argentina Marcos Aurelio Di Paulo 89 5 - - 94
7 Argentina Oswaldo Martinolli 77 10 2 - 89
8 Ecuador Ángel Mena 62 4 - 1 - 67
9 Mexico Luis Montes 55 1 - - - 56
10 Mexico Sergio Anaya 55 - - - 55



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  2. ^ "Central and North America's club of the Century". International Federation of Football History & Statistics. Archived from the original on February 22, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
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  5. ^ "León logró el ascenso a Primera División". ESPN (in Spanish). May 12, 2012. Archived from the original on August 5, 2016. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
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  8. ^ "Liga MX: Leon, coach Gustavo Matosas part ways". ESPN. November 24, 2014. Archived from the original on September 7, 2022. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  9. ^ "Pizzi toma las riendas de León". Marca Claro (in Spanish). December 4, 2014. Archived from the original on August 28, 2022. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  10. ^ "New Chile coach Pizzi leaves Mexico's Leon on losing note". Reuters. January 31, 2016. Archived from the original on September 7, 2022. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  11. ^ Marshall, Tom (May 22, 2016). "Hirving Lozano sends Pachuca into the Liga MX Clausura 2016 final". ESPN. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  12. ^ "León despide a DT Tena por malos resultados en torneo mexicano". Reuters (in Spanish). August 29, 2016. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  13. ^ "Torrente es el nuevo técnico del León". ESPN Deportes (in Spanish). August 30, 2016. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  14. ^ Marshall, Tom (December 3, 2016). "Tigres down Leon, book place in Liga MX Apertura 2016 final". ESPN. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  15. ^ "FÚTBOL-León de México despide a DT Torrente tras perder en casa". Reuters. August 26, 2017. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  16. ^ "Gustavo Díaz arriba a León sin presión de tiempo". ESPN Deportes (in Spanish). August 31, 2017. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  17. ^ "Leon hires Nacho Ambriz to replace Gustavo Diaz as manager". Archived from the original on March 6, 2019. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  18. ^ "León impone récord de más victorias consecutivas en Liga MX" (in Spanish). April 12, 2019. Archived from the original on July 6, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  19. ^ "León impone récord de puntos en torneos de 17 jornadas" (in Spanish). May 4, 2019. Archived from the original on July 6, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  20. ^ Marshall, Tom (May 21, 2019). "Tigres edge Leon to win Liga MX Clausura". ESPN. Archived from the original on December 9, 2019. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  21. ^ Bernal, Jaime (July 13, 2019). "Ignacio Ambriz: ganador del Balón de Oro al Mejor Director Técnico". TUDN. Archived from the original on August 10, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  22. ^ Marshall, Tom (December 13, 2020). "Club Leon sink Pumas to win 2020 Liga MX title". ESPN. Archived from the original on December 14, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  23. ^ "Ratifican que Estadio León pertenece a Roberto Zermeño". Archived from the original on March 8, 2017. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  24. ^ Buckley, Thomas (October 16, 2020). "León stadium drama tops Liga MX headlines". Archived from the original on January 12, 2021. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  25. ^ Everything you need to know about the new Club León stadium Archived September 7, 2022, at the Wayback Machine Archived January 3, 2021, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "C.F. Pachuca beats Club Leon in third-ever friendly at Miller Park". Archived from the original on April 12, 2021. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  27. ^ "LIGA MX - Página Oficial de la Liga Mexicana del Fútbol Profesional". Archived from the original on July 23, 2018. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
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  29. ^ "Reportaje. Máximos goleadores de la historia del León". Aqui Mexico. August 14, 2014. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2014.

Full list published by IFFHS on 8 October 2009

External links[edit]