LaLiga: History and origin behind colours, designs of Primera Division clubs' logos and 'escudos'
LaLiga club logos explained: What does the tree on Athletic Bilbao's escudo mean? Is there an English reference to Barcelona's logo?
In 1941, the first version of the current shield was created, but they were forced to change their name to "Atlético Bilbao" after fascist leader General Francisco Franco outlawed all non-Spanish names during his reign – in 1970, the club recovered the original English "Athletic Club" name. Athletic's shield has incorporated the coat of arms of both Bilbao and Biscay, taking the bridge and church of San Anton from the shield of Bilbao, the wolves from the powerful Haro family, lords of Biscay and founders of Bilbao in 1300 and Guernica’s tree and the cross of San Andrés from the shield of Biscay.
In 1903, the first logo of Atletico Madrid copied the logo of the club from Bilbao and it wasn’t until 1917 the Madrid club finally acquired its own logo. The coat of arms of the city of Madrid with a bear stretching to a strawberry tree was the basis of the new Atletico emblem. The seven stars symbolise the seven border provinces of Madrid. Red and white stripes became the chosen colours of the club after the owners bought the cheapest material they could find. This turned out to be a red and white strip, from which mattresses were made, and the team was subsequently nicknamed “The Mattress Makers”.
England fans will be curious to the top left quarter of Barcelona’s badge which contains the St. George's Cross. This represents the patron saint of Catalonia and is also present in the coat of arms of the city of Barcelona. The top right quarter is the Catalan flag. The bottom quarters contain the colours of the Club and a ball in the centre of the crest.
Like many Galician clubs, the club badge of Celta Vigo is based on the red cross of Saint James and provides background to a sky-blue shield with two c’s to represent Club Celta. Celta Vigo were granted Royal patronage by King Alfonso XIII, hence the crown, and temporarily became named Real Club Celta de Vigo. However, during the Spanish Second Republic the title Real was removed from their name and the Royal Crown removed from the crest, before latterly being reinstated under the Spanish State.
Founded in 1921, Alaves were originally known as Sport Friends Club before changing their name later that year to its current form as shown on the crest. A large flag adorns the central part of the badge tying into the characteristics of the club; sacrifice, dedication and commitment.
Based in the Basque country, SD Eibar were formed in 1940 and wear claret and blue, originating from the kit of Barcelona. The Eibar badge is relatively simple with the main feature being the Cross of San Andres which also appears in the coat of arms for the city.
Similar to Leganés, RCD Espanyol sport a simple crest displaying their club colours front and centre. The team, based in Barcelona, originally played in bright yellow before changing to blue and white in 1910. The colours were chosen as tribute to the shield of Sicilian-Aragonese Admiral Roger de Lluria, who sailed the Mediterranean protecting the interests of the Crown of Aragon in the Middle Ages.
Like many clubs, Getafe’s badge is the same as the emblem of the city with a football featured at the top. The city emblem is divided vertically into two equal halves and represents the two most important characteristics of the Madrid district. The left half contains a heart in the centre of a Latin cross, representing the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the right half contains an airplane pattern which references the nearby Air Force Base and heritage of its fans. The Royal Spanish Crown tops the coat of arms and symbolizes Getafe's loyalty to the Spanish monarchy.
Initially, Granada’s club kits included a shirt with blue and white vertical stripes and white shorts. After the Spanish Civil War, the club owners went to Madrid to buy new ones, but after only finding red and white striped shirts, this was adopted as their official colour scheme. In the 1970s, the club changed the vertical stripes to horizontal. This was controversial and since then, several changes between horizontal and vertical stripes took place until 2004–05, when in a member assembly it was decided to use horizontal stripes definitively. At the bottom of the badge lies a pomegranate fruit which is a symbol of the city and also the origin of the name ‘Granada.’
Based on the outskirts of Madrid, CD Leganés have been competing in LaLiga since the 2016-17 season. The simple crest reflects their club colours of blue and white. Founded in 1928, Leganés are affectionately known as ‘Los Pepineros’ which means the cucumber growers and tells a story of the agricultural background of the club.
The most prominent feature of Levante’s logo is the bat that sits behind the crest. The bat is the symbol of Valencia which is home to the football club. As legend goes it was the humble intervention of a bat that allowed king James I of Aragon to win a crucial battle against the Saracens and secure Valencia as part of his kingdom. Despite having a bat in the badge, Levante are nicknamed ‘Las Granotas’ which translates to the frogs. The ancient Levante stadium was positioned very close to the Turia river which housed an abundance of frogs, hence the nickname.
Formed in 1920, the club's badge reflects their kit colours; a red shirt paired with navy shorts. The word Osasuna means ‘health’ in Basque and can be used to mean ‘strength’ which explains the lion’s presence amid the shield. The crown that sits atop the crest represents the escudo of the ancient Kingdom of Navarre from where they are based. Furthermore, the chain draped around the lion comes from the Navarre shield.
Found in 1907, the Real Betis logo is truly unique in LaLiga due to its unusual shape. The green and white colour palette is inspired by Glasgow Celtic, Real Betis used to play in blue and white but one of the founders – Manuel Ramos Asensio – had forged relationships in Scotland and managed to secure the Celtic hoops for his own team. The stylish monogrammed letters that sit in the centre of the logo stand for Betis Balompié. The crown atop the logo represents the Royal patronage granted by King Alfonso VIII in 1914.
The first crest had a simple design consisting of a decorative interlacing of the three initials of the club, "MCF" for Madrid Club de Fútbol, in dark blue on a white shirt. When King Alfonso XIII granted the club his royal patronage in 1920 the title "Real Madrid," meaning "Royal" was formed and Alfonso's crown was added to the crest and the club styled itself Real Madrid Club de Fútbol.
Founded in 1916, Mallorca are based in Palma on the Balearic Islands and feature a crown on their badge indicative of Royal patronage akin to many other LaLiga clubs. The vibrant colours on the crest can be explained by their nickname as the ‘vermilion’ team. The word "bermellón" comes from the Catalan "vermelló" and is used to define a brilliant, orangish-red colour very similar to the colour of the RCD Mallorca jersey and as seen on the badge.
Real Sociedad’s blue and white colours pay homage to the cities official flag: a blue canton on a white field which also gave credence to their nickname ‘Txuriurdin’ meaning blue and white. Like Real Madrid, the crown, which adorns a football, was added after King Alfonso XIII gave the club his patronage thus making Sociedad ‘Real’.
Real Valladolid are based in Northern Spain and go by the nickname ‘Pucela’. As per several LaLiga clubs, the club has Royal patronage hence the prominent crown. The five flames are present as a reminder of a fire in 1561 with the Laureate Cross of San Fernando in the background which represents Spain’s highest military decoration.
Since the club began, Sevilla has used a double-circled crest with the name of the club and the date of its foundation written on the outside and on a white background the letters "SFC" were interlaced on the inside. The shield is divided in three parts and together they form the silhouette of a heart. The three figures, King Ferdinand III of Castile, Archbishops Isidore and Leander of Seville, depicted are the same Christian saints portrayed on the coat of arms of the city. The red and white stripes are said to be inspired from the flag which King Ferdinand III of Castile carried in the reconquest of Seville in 1248.
Valencia’s badge features the iconic bat that sits at the top of the crest, which has since been rumoured to be the focus of legal wrangling with DC Comics. The bat is thought to date back to 1238, when King James of Aragon was fighting to take Valencia back from the Moors. The tale goes, when the King entered the newly liberated city, a bat flew from the sky and flapped in front of him – this was seen as a blessing and thereafter the bat has spread its wings across the city of Valencia and has since been incorporated as the central figure of city heraldry.
Villarreal’s current-day crest incorporates the club’s famous blue and yellow colours with the red and yellow flag of the Valencia region. The crown atop the flag reflects the town’s royal history; Villarreal, literally ‘Royal Village,’ was founded by King James I of Aragon in 1274. While blue and yellow may today be synonymous with Villarreal CF, the club colours were black and white until 1947. The story goes that the son of the then-president travelled to Valencia to buy replacement kits, only to find that only yellow shirts were available. The players weren’t keen on the yellow-black combination, however, and voted to dye the shorts blue. Though the club adopted an all-yellow strip after 2003, the yellow and blue colours remain a key component of the club crest to this day.