is a football (soccer) club from Spain.
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About Levante UD
Levante Unión Deportiva, S.A.D. (Llevant Unió Esportiva in Valencian language) is a List of football clubs in Spain based in Valencia, Spain, in the Valencian Community.
Founded on 9 September 1909, it plays in La Liga, holding home games at Estadi Ciutat de València.
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, Spain. 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 of Spain. 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 Segunda División, both Levante and Gimnástico made their debut in the Segunda División, 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 Valencian Community, Region of Murcia and Andalusia, and subsequently reached the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, consecutively beating Valencia and FC Barcelona, before losing to eventual runners-up CE Sabadell FC.
Copa de la España Libre
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 Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys.
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 2000's also dating from this era (the azulgrana
home colours were originally those of Gimnástico, whilst the black and white away kit, was also used by Levante FC in the beginning).
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 1963–64 La Liga, it managed to win both games against Valencia, managing a 5–1 home win against Barcelona in 1964–65 La Liga, but being relegated nonetheless, after losing in the playoffs against CD Málaga, and spent most of the following two decades in the second and Tercera División – Segunda División B
would not be created until 1977. In the early 1980s, Netherlands superstar Johan Cruyff played half a season for the club, retiring three years later.
After winning 2003–04 Segunda División, Levante returned to the top level, but survived only 2004–05 La Liga. Finishing third in 2005–06 Segunda División it returned for an additional two seasons, the decisive match in the 2006–07 La Liga being a 4–2 home win against Valencia, courtesy of Riga Mustapha (two goals), Salva Ballesta 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 Euro18 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 Segunda División, 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 Strike action during the 2007–08 La Liga-ending game at Real Madrid C.F..
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 2009–10 Segunda División CD Castellón. It lost in the final round 0–4 at Real Betis, but the Andalusians only managed to finish with the same points, as fourth.
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 La Liga. 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, only losing once in 12 games, precisely against the latter team.
On 26 October 2011, during round nine of 2011–12 La Liga, Levante defeated Real Sociedad 3–2 to move top of the table on 23 points. 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.
- 5 seasons in Tercera División
- 2 seasons in Segunda División
- 5 seasons in Tercera División
Levante FC + Gimnástico FC: Levante UD
- 7 seasons in La Liga
- 35 seasons in Segunda División
- 12 seasons in Segunda División B
- 16 seasons in Tercera División
- 1 season in Divisiones Regionales de Fútbol
As of 16 August 2011
From Levante UD B
- Copa de la España Libre: 1937
- Segunda División: 2003–04 Segunda División
- Segunda División B: 1988–89, 1995–96, 1998–99
- Tercera División: 1943–44, 1972–73
- Campeonato Levante-Sur: 1934–35
- Campeonato de Valencia: 1927–28
- Trofeo Ciudad de Valencia: 1996
Estadio Ciutat de Valencia was opened on 9 September 1969, with capacity for 25,354 spectators. Dimensions 107x69 meters.
Notable former players
- Pablo Cavallero
- Gustavo Reggi
- Vladimir Manchev
- Daniel Ngom Kome
- Lauren Etame Mayer
- Albert Meyong
- José Veiga (born 1976)
- Carlos Caszely
- Edwin Congo
- Félix Dja Ettien
- Idrissa Keita
- Mate Šestan
- Felipe Caicedo
- Sergio Barila
- Yago Alonso-Fueyo Sako
- Shota Arveladze
- Ian Harte
- Marco Storari
- Damiano Tommasi
- Mohamed El Yaagoubi
- Johan Cruyff
- Riga Mustapha
- Faas Wilkes
- Duda (Portuguese footballer)
- Predrag Mijatović
- David Aganzo
- Claudio Barragán
- Ángel Manuel Cuéllar
- Ernesto Domínguez
- Sergio García de la Fuente
- Fernando Giner
- José Francisco Molina
- Juan Francisco García
- Andoni Murúa
- Fernando Martínez Perales
- Alberto Rivera Pizarro
- Salva Ballesta
- Vicente Rodríguez
- Johan Mjällby
- Fabio Celestini
- Juan Ramón López Caro (2006–07)
- José Manuel Esnal (1996–97, 2005–06)
- Enrique Orizaola (1964–65)
- Manuel Preciado Rebolledo (2003–04)
- Juan de la Cruz Ramos Cano (1994–95)
- Abel Resino (2007)
- Bernd Schuster (2004–05)
- Gianni De Biasi (2007–08)