Levante UD

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Levante
Levante Unión Deportiva, S.A.D. logo.svg
Full name Levante Unión Deportiva, S.A.D.
Nickname(s) Les Granotes (The Frogs)
Founded September 9, 1909; 105 years ago (1909-09-09)
Ground Ciutat de València, Valencia,
Valencia, Spain
Ground Capacity 26,354
President Quico Catalán
Head coach Lucas Alcaraz
League La Liga
2014–15 14th
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.

History[edit]

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]

Seasons[edit]

Recent history[edit]

Season Pos. Pl. W D L GS GA P Cup Notes
2004–05 1D 18th 38 9 10 19 39 58 37 Relegated
2005–06 2D 3rd 42 20 14 8 53 39 74 1st round Promoted
2006–07 1D 15th 38 10 12 16 37 53 42 Last 16
2007–08 1D 20th 38 7 5 26 33 75 26 Last 16 Relegated
2008–09 2D 8th 42 18 10 14 59 59 64
2009–10 2D 3rd 42 19 14 9 63 45 71 Promoted
2010–11 1D 14th 38 12 9 17 41 52 45 Last 16
2011–12 1D 6th 38 16 7 15 54 50 55 Quarter Finals Qualified to UEFA Europa League
2012–13 1D 11th 38 12 10 16 40 57 46 Last 16
2013–14 1D 10th 38 12 12 14 35 43 48 Quarter Finals
2014–15 1D 14th 38 9 10 19 34 67 37 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
1919/20 1st 1st -
1920/21 1st 2nd -
1921/22 1st 4th -
1922/23 1st 2nd -
1923/24 1st 1st -
1924/25 1st 1st -
1925/26 1st 3rd -
1926/27 1st 4th -
1927/28 1st 4th -
1928/29 4th 3rd -
1929/30 3rd 3rd -
1930/31 3rd 5th -
1931/32 3rd 3rd -
1932/33 3rd 3rd -
1933/34 3rd 3rd -
1934/35 2nd 6th 5th round
1935/36 2nd 4th group round
1937 1st 6th -
  • As Levante FC
Season Division Place Copa del Rey
1920/21 1st 4th -
1921/22 1st 2nd -
1922/23 1st 3rd -
1923/24 1st 3rd -
1924/25 1st 3rd -
1925/26 1st 2nd group round
1926/27 1st 3rd -
1927/28 1st 1st group round
1928/29 4th 4th -
1929/30 3rd 2nd -
1930/31 3rd 6th -
1931/32 3rd 1st -
1932/33 3rd 4th Round of 32
1933/34 3rd 5th Round of 32
1934/35 2nd 3rd Semifinals
1935/36 2nd 3rd 2nd round
1937 1st 5th Winner
  • As Levante UD
Season Division Place Copa del Rey
1939/40 2nd 1st 1st round
1940/41 2nd 3rd Quarter-finals
1941/42 2nd 8th 1st round
1942/43 Regional 1st 1st round
1943/44 3rd 1st -
1944/45 3rd 2nd -
1945/46 3rd 1st -
1946/47 2nd 6th Round of 16
1947/48 2nd 5th 5th round
1948/49 2nd 9th 4th round
1949/50 2nd 13th 3rd round
1950/51 2nd 13th -
1951/52 2nd 14th -
1952/53 3rd 2nd -
1953/54 3rd 1st -
1954/55 2nd 15th -
1955/56 3rd 1st -
1956/57 2nd 11th -
1957/58 2nd 4th -
1958/59 2nd 2nd Round of 32
1959/60 2nd 6th 1st round
1960/61 2nd 6th 1st round
1961/62 2nd 6th 1st round
1962/63 2nd 2nd Round of 16
1963/64 1st 10th Round of 32
1964/65 1st 14th Round of 16
Season Division Place Copa del Rey
1965/66 2nd 5th 1st round
1966/67 2nd 4th Round of 32
1967/68 2nd 14th 1st round
1968/69 3rd 3rd -
1969/70 3rd 4th 3rd round
1970/71 3rd 12th 1st round
1971/72 3rd 6th 2nd round
1972/73 3rd 1st 3rd round
1973/74 2nd 19th 5th round
1974/75 3rd 2nd 4th round
1975/76 3rd 1st 1st round
1976/77 2nd 18th 2nd round
1977/78 2ndB 4th 3rd round
1978/79 2ndB 1st 2nd round
1979/80 2nd 10th 3rd round
1980/81 2nd 9th Round of 16
1981/82 2nd 19th 3rd round
1982/83 3rd 2nd 2nd round
1983/84 3rd 2nd 2nd round
1984/85 2ndB 11th 2nd round
1985/86 2ndB 10th -
1986/87 3rd 2nd -
1987/88 2ndB 6th 3rd round
1988/89 2ndB 1st 2nd round
1989/90 2nd 15th 1st round
1990/91 2nd 19th 3rd round
Season Division Place Copa del Rey
1991/92 2ndB 11th 3rd round
1992/93 2ndB 9th 2nd round
1993/94 2ndB 3rd 3rd round
1994/95 2ndB 1st 1st round
1995/96 2ndB 1st 3rd round
1996/97 2nd 9th 2nd round
1997/98 2nd 22nd 1st Round
1998/99 2ndB 1st Round of 16
1999/00 2nd 7th 1st round
2000/01 2nd 8th Round of 32
2001/02 2nd 19th Round of 32
2002/03 2nd 4th Round of 64
2003/04 2nd 1st Round of 16
2004/05 1st 18th Round of 32
2005/06 2nd 3rd 1st round
2006/07 1st 15th Round of 32
2007/08 1st 20th Round of 16
2008/09 2nd 8th 2nd round
2009/10 2nd 3rd 2nd round
2010/11 1st 14th Round of 16
2011/12 1st 6th Quarter-finals
2012/13 1st 11th Round of 16
2013/14 1st 10th Quarterfinals
2014/15 1st 14th Round of 16
2015/16 1st

Levante FC

Gimnástico FC

Levante FC + Gimnástico FC: Levante UD

Current squad[edit]

As of 31 August 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 Mozambique MF Simão Mate
6 Spain MF Víctor Camarasa
7 Spain MF Verza
8 Colombia MF Jefferson Lerma (on loan from Atlético Huila)
10 Spain MF Rubén García
11 Spain MF José Luis Morales
12 Spain DF Juanfran (captain)
13 Spain GK Rubén
No. Position Player
14 Spain FW Roger Martí
15 Greece DF Nikos Karabelas
16 Spain DF Ángel Trujillo
17 Spain MF Jordi Xumetra
18 Spain FW Víctor Casadesús
19 Spain DF Pedro López
20 Brazil FW Deyverson
22 Spain MF José Mari
23 Algeria FW Nabil Ghilas (on loan from Porto)
24 Morocco DF Zou Feddal
25 Spain GK Diego Mariño

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 MF Jason (on loan at Albacete)
Brazil FW Rafael Martins (on loan at Moreirense)

Honours[edit]

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

Stadium[edit]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]