Ballesteros in action for Levante
|Full name||Sergio Martínez Ballesteros|
|Date of birth||4 September 1975|
|Place of birth||Burjassot, Spain|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|1996||→ Tenerife (loan)||6||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
He started and finished his 19-year professional career with Levante, amassing La Liga totals of 387 games and eight goals over the course of 15 seasons. He also represented in the competition Tenerife (four years), Rayo Vallecano, Villarreal (three) and Mallorca (four).
Born in Burjassot, Valencian Community, Ballesteros came through the ranks of local Levante UD. In January 1996 he moved on loan to the Canary Islands' CD Tenerife, making his La Liga debut on 3 January in a 2–0 home win against Racing de Santander. After making the move permanent he went on to become an important defensive player, also starting to garner a reputation as a tough, sometimes to excess, central defender: in the 1998–99 season, as Tenerife ranked second from bottom, he was sent off twice in just eight appearances.
For the 2000–01 campaign, Ballesteros moved to Rayo Vallecano in Madrid, collecting ten yellow cards during his only season and playing all the games and minutes in the team's quarter-final run in the UEFA Cup. He subsequently spent three years at Villarreal CF, being an important defensive element as the club consolidated in the main division.
From 2004 to 2008, Ballesteros represented RCD Mallorca also in the top flight, receiving six additional marching orders in over 100 first-team appearances. In July 2008 the 33-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements and released, re-joining freshly relegated to the second level Levante after 13 years.
Veteran Ballesteros rarely missed a match for the Granotas in the following seasons, making 34 appearances in 2010–11 (one goal, against CA Osasuna in a 2–1 home win) as the team finally retained their top flight status. He fared even better the following campaign – also finding the net once, at Rayo Vallecano in a 2–1 success –as the side finished sixth and qualified for the Europa League for the first time ever.
Ballesteros was again a starter and team captain in 2012–13. However, late into the campaign, he, alongside Juanlu and Gustavo Munúa, was accused by teammate José Barkero of lack of commitment during a 0–4 home loss against Deportivo de La Coruña, which led to several match-fixing allegations.
- Spain U21
- "Ballesteros, el más antiguo del lugar" [Ballesteros, oldest one around]. Las Provincias (in Spanish). 19 August 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- "El Tenerife empieza a convencer" [Tenerife begin to convince]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 4 January 1996. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
- "Ballesteros: "Si fuera guapo como Beckham, no dirían que soy duro"" [Ballesteros: "If i was good looking like Beckham, they would not call me tough"]. El Periódico Mediterráneo (in Spanish). 4 September 2003. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Las cinco expulsiones" [The five ejections]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 3 October 2005. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
- "Ballesteros bate el récord... de rojas" [Ballesteros breaks record... for red cards]. Marca (in Spanish). 27 October 2007. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
- "Levante boost survival hopes". ESPN Soccernet. 27 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Levante maintain impressive start". ESPN Soccernet. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Incendio en el vestuario del Levante por las acusaciones de amaño entre jugadores" [Fire in Levante locker room for match-fixing accusations between players] (in Spanish). Libertad Digital. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- "Levante thrown into doubt". Football España. 6 May 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2013.