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Santa Clara

Santa Clara is a football (soccer) club from Portugal.

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About Santa Clara

Clube Desportivo Santa Clara is a Portugal football (soccer) club from Ponta Delgada, Azores. They are the most successful football team from the Azores islands. To date, it is the only club from the Azores islands to have competed in the top division of the Portuguese Liga, although they currently compete in the Liga de Honra, the Portugal Portuguese football competitions association football league. Santa Clara's current kit manufactuer is Macron (sportswear) and their sponsors are Açoreana Seguros.


Santa Clara plays in the Estádio de São Miguel (Ponta Delgada) in Ponta Delgada, the largest city in the Azores. It is the only team from the Azores islands to ever participate in the Portuguese Liga, where they play for three non-consecutive seasons (1999–00, 2001–02 and 2002–03). The club also qualified once for UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2002. Manuel José Tavares Fernandes, a former Portugal national football team, who took Santa Clara to the First Division the first time, is an highly acclaimed figure in Azores. While it now plays in the Liga de Honra, Santa Clara is always a favorite to get promoted.

The club is known for its close connection to S.L. Benfica, having shared until recently the very same crest. The club played in the old Estádio da Luz, as Benfica's last official opponent before a new stadium was built in Lisbon for the UEFA Euro 2004, which Portugal hosted. The attendance of that game was close to 50,000.

Among the club's most famous players are Paulo Figueiredo, Clayton Ferreira Cruz, José Carlos Fernandes Vidigal, and Jorge Ribeiro while Portugal's all-time leading scorer Pauleta was a youth player at the club.

Madeira and Azores rivalry

Due to the geographic area of the Azores, Santa Clara's main rivals are C.S. Marítimo and C.D. Nacional, both from the Madeira islands, though currently they play in different tiers (Marítimo and Nacional play in the Portuguese Liga while Santa Clara plays in the Liga de Honra). Matches against teams from Madeira prove to be very heated affairs, with both sets of fans segregated and heightened security required. The fans are also known as the "Sefarditas" of in English the Sephardic Jews due to the fact that the Azores had a large number of Jews that immigrated to the island, they were known as the Marranos, Jews that were forced to convert to Christianity. Fans of rivals are known to call the Santa Clara fans antisemitic slurs. Evidence of Ponta Delgada's Jewish past is even vibrant in the city's landscape at one time five synagogues were in the city alone.
Politics also take a part in the Madeira and Azores derby due to the heated relationship with the two regional governors. Madeira's controversial regional governor, Alberto João Jardim, is a self-confessed Marítimo supporter while on the opposite end, Azores regional governor, Carlos César, is a Santa Clara fan.

During the 2000s, the lack of funds going into Santa Clara were noticeable as the club fell from the First Division and sank deeply into the Second. It was this period that also saw the Azores and Madeira derby grow even stronger as Nacional and Marítimo fans would sing "O Barco Açoriano Está no Fundo" (translated as: "the Azorean boat has just sank to the bottom"), but in recent times, there has been more investment in the club in hopes of returning to the top division.

The derby even competes with each other using players as Madeira's most famous footballer, being Cristiano Ronaldo, who played for Madeira club Nacional and currently plays for Real Madrid C.F., and the Azores had prolific striker and all-time leading scorer for Portugal national football team, Pauleta, who played for Santa Clara. This only exacerbates the ill-feeling between the clubs and the two islands.

Prior to Marítimo's October 2006 Portuguese Liga clash against Associação Naval 1º de Maio, Marítimo and fellow Madeira rivals Nacional announced that construction would begin on the brand-new, 10,000 capacity Estádio do Madeira in the nearby Praia Formosa area of Funchal. After Portuguese press released this statement, officials in the Azores also prompted for a brand new stadium in the Azores for Santa Clara, where Santa Clara and the Portugal national football team would play in. So far, Madeira's new stadium is in the works and Santa Clara's new stadium is under consideration, pending a return of Santa Clara to the first division.


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- Portuguese Second Division

As of 29 July, 2011.


Notable former players

- Pauleta
- Jorge Ribeiro
- Ricardo Sousa
- Nuno Sociedade
- João Botelho (footballer)
- Jaime Celestino Dias Bragança
- Sérgio Organista
- Bruno Patacas
- Bruno Ribeiro
- Klevis Dalipi
- Paulo José Lopes Figueiredo
- Carlos Manuel Gonçalves Alonso
- Francisco Zuela
- José Carlos Fernandes Vidigal
- Livio Prieto

- Mauricio Hanuch
- George dos Santos Paladini
- Diogo Rodrigues Siston
- Aldo César da Silva
- Fabricio Carlos Costa Bento
- George dos Santos Paladini
- Ronaldo Maczinski
- Clayton Ferreira Cruz
- Orestes Junior Alves
- Hernâni Borges
- Mateus Lopes
- Faysal El Idrissi
- István Vincze
- Gábor Vayer

- Faysal El Idrissi
- Garba Lawal
- Haruna Doda
- Dmitri Prokopenko
- Klevis Dalipi
- António Jesus García González

League and cup history

The club has spent three seasons at the top level of Portuguese football.

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