Sport in Madeira
On the island of Madeira, a large number of sports are practiced, both outdoors and indoors in the various facilities available throughout the island.
Among the sports practiced on the island include the following:
Madeira has three football teams in the Portuguese Liga (Portugal's top league): C.S. Marítimo, Nacional da Madeira and União da Madeira who were relegated from the top league in 1995, but gained promotion in 2015 back to the top league.
C.S. Marítimo is considered the biggest club of Madeira and has enjoyed various campaigns in the UEFA Cup having recorded famous results against teams such as Juventus, Leeds and Rangers. Having finished 5th in the league in the 2009/2010 season, C.S. Marítimo qualified for the Europa League for the 2010/2011 season.
C.S. Marítimo has nurtured great players such as Pepe, now at Besiktas J.K., Danny, who is playing for them currently, Jorge Costa, retired (F.C. Porto), Tarik Sektioui, who left F.C. Porto at the start of 2009/2010 league, Nuno Valente, retired, Ariza Makukula and many others.
In 2003–04 Nacional achieved fourth place in the Portuguese League, their best classification ever. They repeated it three years later and are the only Madeiran team to finish fourth place in the Portuguese League. Nacional were the only Madeiran team that reached the Europa League group stage (in the 2009-2010 season) until Marítimo reached the group stages in the 2012-13 season. Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the top football players ever, played in Nacional until he was 12 years old before moving to Sporting Lisbon. Nacional plays in the Madeira Stadium (Estádio da Madeira), considered by CNN in 2011, one of the eight more unusual stadiums in the world. Besides Cristiano Ronaldo, other known footballers played in Nacional like Paulo Assunção (played in F.C. Porto and Atletico Madrid), Ruben Micael (played in F.C. Porto and Zaragoza), Maicon (F.C. Porto), Diego Benaglio (Wolfsburg) and Felipe Lopes (Wolfsburg).
Outside the Portuguese top league, there are two other Maderian teams: U.D. Santana and A.D. Pontassolense. U.D. Santana was relegated from the Portuguese Second Division so it now competes in the Portuguese Third Division while A.D. Pontassolense plays in the Portuguese Second Division.
In recent years, Madeira has had a considerable amount of success in professional basketball, with CAB Madeira having won numerous titles, especially their female team. CAB is often seen competing in European matches such as the FIBA EuroCup and former stars include Filipe da Silva and ex-Los Angeles Lakers player Ike Nwankwo.
The oldest Saint Silvester Road Race in Portugal and one of the oldest in the Europe Union is held every December 28 and is called the Volta à cidade do Funchal and is made up of professional and amateur runners.
More to that there are: Boa Ventura Trail run, Sky Trail Camp – Porto da Cruz, Trail de Porto Moniz – São Vicente, Madeira Trail Camp – São Vicente, Trail do Porto Santo, Madeira Trail Series – São Vicente, Trail do Ludens de Machico, Corrida Nocturna Baia dos Descubrimentos, Vertical KM – Câmara de Lobos, Trail da Zona Militar da Madeira, Ultra Sky Marathon Madeira, Cristo Rei Trail, Funchal Sky Race, Trail de Água de Pena, Ultra Trail Porto da Cruz Natura, Trail de Santa Cruz, Vertical KM – Funchal, Madeira Uphill 2000, Vertical KM – Fanal, Eco Trail do Funchal, Trail de Câmara de Lobos, Trail da Calheta, Trail Nocturno de Machico, Source
This section does not cite any sources. (April 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Scuba diving has become very popular in recent years due to the crystal waters and the abundance of life that characterize Madeira. Recently explored, Ponta de São Lourenço can offer the best dive sites of the island. This area is reachable from the very close Marina of Quinta do Lorde.
The clear waters and marine life of Madeira, known for its numerous nature reserves and marine areas, offer countless fascinating and electrifying dive spots. The marine fauna of this region consists mainly of coastal species. Sandy and rocky bottoms host numerous species of marine creatures: groupers (Epinephelus guaza) and other serranids, salps, sea bream, mullet, scorpion fish (Scorpaena scrofa), moray eels, octopuses, cuttlefish, barracudas, damsels are just some of the species that divers may commonly spot. Among the invertebrates, besides various species of anemones and starfish, we emphasize the presence of numerous bearded fireworms (Hermodice carunculata), known for their considerable size (up to 30 cm) and for their painfully stinging bristles. Common are also several species of crabs; the most curious of them is definitely the arrow crab (Stenorhynchus seticornis). Large, typically pelagic organisms can also be occasionally encountered: wahoos, tunas, cetaceans (i.e. the spotted dolphin and Risso’s dolphin), sea turtles, manta rays and mobulas, and the famous but rare monk seal (Monachus monachus).
Walking and hiking
Madeira offers about 600 miles (966 kilometres) of walks, many alongside the levadas, some of the island's greatest attractions. The levadas provide stunning walks, some of which are quite challenging. Canyoning has increased in popularity over the last few years with many companies offering canyoning tours.
The Rali Vinho da Madeira is the largest sporting event held in the archipelago each year, attracting thousands of spectators from Europe. The motor rally (established in 1959) has been part of several international pan-European championships since the 1970s, most notably the European Rally Championship and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Karting and golf are other popular sports played on the island. The island lies in an ideal location for water sports such as fishing, sailing and diving due to its climate and location. Jogo do Pau, a Portuguese martial art, is still practiced in the rural areas of the island but has declined since its peak in the early part of the 20th century.
Madeira is also popular as a Moauntain bike destination, organizing stops of the Enduro World Series championship**