Club León

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León
Full nameClub León
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; 79 years ago (1944-08-20)
GroundEstadio León
Capacity27,423[1]
OwnerGrupo Pachuca
ChairmanJesús Martínez Murguia
ManagerJorge Bava
LeagueLiga MX
Clausura 2023Regular phase: 6th
Final phase: Reclassification
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Club León, 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 Guardianes 2020. After winning the League and the México Cup in 1949, it became the first Mexican campeonísimo. León finished as runners-up for the CONCACAF Champions' Cup in 1993 and won the competition (renamed the Champions League) in 2023 against Los Angeles FC.

The team were relegated to the Liga de Ascenso in 2002 and were a consistent contender for promotion, but failed to advance in the playoffs. León were promoted in the Clasura 2012 and won the Liga MX's Apertura 2013.[2] They defended their league championship in Clausura 2014, earning them the title of "bicampeones". The team has 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.[3]

History[edit]

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."

1947–48[edit]

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.

1948–49[edit]

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.

1951–52[edit]

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.

1955–56[edit]

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.

1960s[edit]

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.

1970s[edit]

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 Apertura when they arrived to first division.

1990s[edit]

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.[4]

Return to Primera División[edit]

Argentine Gustavo Matosas began leading León on 7 January 2012, after being hired in September 2011.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7][8]

Matosas and León parted ways after failing to make it to the 2014 Apertura championship stage.[9] Argentine Juan Antonio Pizzi was named as his replacement.[10]

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 replaced by Luis Fernando Tena.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13][14] 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.[15]

In August 2017, Torrente was let go after a year as manager[16] and was replaced by Gustavo Díaz.[17]

On 18 September 2018, Ignacio Ambríz was named manager of León, replacing Díaz.[18] During the 2019 Clausura, he helped León attain the records of most consecutive wins with eleven[19] and the most points attained during the 17-match tournament format (41 points).[20] They faced Tigres UANL in the Clausura championship final but lost following an aggregate score of 1–0.[21] Regardless, Ambríz's feats with the club contributed to him being named best manager at the conclusion of the season.[22]

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.[23]

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.[24]

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.[25] 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.[26]

Rivalries[edit]

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.[27]

Honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

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

International[edit]

CONCACAF Champions Cup

  • Champions (1): 2023
  • Runners-up (1): 1993

Leagues Cup

Friendly tournaments[edit]

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

Current staff[edit]

Management[edit]

Position Staff
Chairman Mexico Jesús Martínez Murguia
Director of football Mexico Rodrigo Fernández
Director of academy Mexico Javier Santamaría
Secretary Mexico Ángel Meza

Source: Liga MX

As of 28 November 2022[citation needed]
Position Staff
Manager Uruguay Jorge Bava
Assistant managers Uruguay Alejandro Iglesias
Uruguay Darío Ramos
Uruguay Sebastián Maz
Goalkeeper coach Mexico Agustín Sandoval
Fitness coaches Uruguay Mauricio Ferraro
Mexico Mario Avendaño
Physiotherapists Mexico Víctor Vera
Mexico José Limón
Team doctor Mexico Valentín Villa

Players[edit]

First-team squad[edit]

As of 2 July 2023[28][29]

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
5 MF Mexico MEX Fidel Ambríz
6 DF Colombia COL William Tesillo
7 DF Mexico MEX Iván Moreno
8 MF Mexico MEX José Iván Rodríguez
10 MF Uruguay URU Nicolás López
11 MF Mexico MEX Elías Hernández
13 MF Ecuador ECU Ángel Mena
15 MF Colombia COL Édgar Guerra
16 MF Uruguay URU Alan Medina
17 MF Mexico MEX Andrés Guardado
No. Pos. Nation Player
18 FW Uruguay URU Federico Viñas
19 MF Uruguay URU Gonzalo Nápoli
20 FW Mexico MEX Alfonso Alvarado
21 DF Colombia COL Jaine Barreiro
22 DF Argentina ARG Adonis Frías
24 DF Mexico MEX Osvaldo Rodríguez
25 DF Mexico MEX Paul Bellón
26 FW Mexico MEX Armando León
28 DF Mexico MEX David Ramírez
30 GK Mexico MEX Rodolfo Cota
34 DF Mexico MEX Óscar Villa

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
MF Mexico MEX Luis Montes

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
DF Ecuador ECU Byron Castillo (at Peñarol)
DF Mexico MEX Pedro Hernández (at Celaya)
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF Colombia COL Omar Fernández (at Everton)
MF Uruguay URU Federico Martínez (at Everton)

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]

[30] Name[31] Season LEAGUE 2ND DIV CUP CDC CON LIB Total
1 Mexico Adalberto López[32] 1946 - 50 (5) 126 - 9 1 - - 136
2 Argentina Mexico Mauro Boselli[32] 2013 - 18 (5) 105 - 20 - 1 4 130
3 Argentina Mexico Marcos Aurelio[32] 1944 - 48/ 1951 - 56 (6) 98 - 10 - - - 108
4 Argentina Roberto Salomone[32] 1971 - 77 (6) 95 - 9 - - - 104
5 Mexico Luis Estrada[32] 1965 - 73 / 1978 - 79 (9) 90 - 11 1 - - 102
6 Brazil Tita 1990 - 94/ 1995 - 97 (6) 88 - 2 - 7 - 97
7 Argentina Oswaldo Martinolli 1955 - 61 (5) 74 - 15 2 - - 91
8 Ecuador Ángel Mena 2019 - Act. (4) 67 - 2 - 7 - 76
9 Mexico Sergio Anaya 1966 - 72 (7) 53 - 7 - - - 60
10 Argentina Alberto Etcheverry 1958 - 61 (3) 37 - 20 - - - 57
11 Mexico Luis Montes 2011 - 2022 (11) 47 7 1 - - 1 56
12 Mexico Luis Luna 1945 - 1962 (17) 47 - 6 - - - 53
13 Mexico Carlos Peña 2011 - 15 / 2017 (6) 38 6 5 - - 3 52
14 Argentina Alberto Jorge 1976 - 80 (4) 51 - - - - - 51
15 Argentina Juan José Valiente 1970-1972 (2) 45 - - - - - 45
16 Brazil Cabinho 1983 - 85 (2) 44 - - - - - 44
17 Mexico Everaldo Begines 1997 - 00 (3) 43 - - - 1 - 44
18 Argentina Hector Carlos Álvarez 2005/2006-2007 - 44 - - - - 44
19 Mexico Elías Hernández 2013 - 2018/2021 - Act. (5) 36 - 2 - 3 - 41
20 UruguayNelson Sebastián Maz 2011-2014 9 27 - - - 1 37
21 Ghana Isaac Ayipei 1992-1995 (3) 35 - - - 1 - 36
22 Mexico Luis Nieves 2006-2012 (6) 36 - - - - - 36
23 Mexico Sigifredo Mercado 1995 - 99 / 2000 - 01 / 2003 (6) 33 - 1 - 1 - 35
24 ChileVíctor Dávila 2020-2023 30 - - - 3 - 33
25 Paraguay Freddy Bareiro 2007-2008 - 30 - - - - 30
26 Mexico Martín Peña 1990 - 92 / 1995 - 99 / 2001 (7) 26 - 1 - - - 27
27 Mexico Bardo Fierros 2004 - 2007 - 27 - - - - 27
28 Mexico Mauricio Romero 2007 - 2008 - 26 - - - - 26
29 Mexico Missael Espinoza 1997-1998 / 1999-2002 (4) 23 - - - - - 23
  • Bold: Current players on the club.
  • LEAGUE=Fist category league, 2ND DIV=Second category leagues, CUP=Copa Mexico, CDC=Campeon de Campeones Cup, CON=CONCAFAC Champios Cup, LIB=Libertadores Cup
  • In case of tie, they are ordered by chronological order (oldest goes first).

Managers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "El Estadio León, el tercero con mejor promedio de asistencia de la Liga MX - ZonaFrancaMX". Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  2. ^ Straus, Brian (December 16, 2013). "León bests Club América for Mexican Apertura championship". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on August 4, 2023. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ "Oficializa León compra por parte del Pachuca". Medio Tiempo (in Spanish). November 20, 2010. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  5. ^ "Gustavo Matosas nuevo técnico del León". Zona Franca (in Spanish). September 20, 2011. Archived from the original on September 7, 2022. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "Underdog Champions: 2013-14 Leon". FMF State of Mind. May 21, 2020. Archived from the original on June 20, 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  8. ^ Saucedo, Julio (May 14, 2014). "León, bicampeón 66 años después de ser el primero en serlo en México". ESPN Deportes (in Spanish). Archived from the original on April 13, 2019. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  9. ^ "Liga MX: Leon, coach Gustavo Matosas part ways". ESPN. November 24, 2014. Archived from the original on September 7, 2022. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "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.
  17. ^ "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.
  18. ^ "Leon hires Nacho Ambriz to replace Gustavo Diaz as manager". Archived from the original on March 6, 2019. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  19. ^ "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.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Marshall, Tom (December 13, 2020). "Club Leon sink Pumas to win 2020 Liga MX. In 2021 León defeated Seattle in the Leagues Cup Final 3-2 and was the runner up in the Aperture Tournament. In 2023 León beat Tigres and LAFC to win the Concachampions and book a ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup. title". ESPN. Archived from the original on December 14, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  24. ^ "Ratifican que Estadio León pertenece a Roberto Zermeño". Archived from the original on March 8, 2017. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  25. ^ Buckley, Thomas (October 16, 2020). "León stadium drama tops Liga MX headlines". Playingfor90.com. Archived from the original on January 12, 2021. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  26. ^ Everything you need to know about the new Club León stadium Archived September 7, 2022, at the Wayback Machine https://us.bolavip.com Archived January 3, 2021, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "C.F. Pachuca beats Club Leon in third-ever friendly at Miller Park". jsonline.com. Archived from the original on April 12, 2021. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  28. ^ "LIGA MX - Página Oficial de la Liga Mexicana del Fútbol Profesional". Archived from the original on July 23, 2018. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  29. ^ "León anuncia la llegada de Omar Fernández como refuerzo". ESPN. June 9, 2021. Archived from the original on June 24, 2021. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  30. ^ "Reportaje. Máximos goleadores de la historia del León". Aquí México. August 14, 2014. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  31. ^ "Máximos anotadores de todos los tiempos". Archived from the original on November 27, 2023. Retrieved October 31, 2023.
  32. ^ a b c d e "Club León".

External links[edit]