Athletic Club Bilbao
They are known as Los Leones because their stadium was built near a church called San Mamés. Mammes was a semi-legendary early Christian thrown to the lions by the Romans. Mammes pacified the lions and was later made a saint.
The club has played in the Primera División of La Liga since its start in 1929. They have won the league on eight occasions. In the historical classification of La Liga, Athletic are in fourth place and one of only three clubs which have never been relegated from the Liga, the others being Real Madrid and Barcelona. The club also has a women's team, which has won four championships in the Primera División Femenina.
The club is known for its cantera policy of bringing young Basque players through the ranks, as well as recruiting top Basque players from other clubs. Athletic official policy is signing professional players native to or footballistically trained in the greater Basque Country, including Biscay, Gipuzkoa, Álava and Navarre; and Labourd, Soule and Lower Navarre. This has gained Athletic both admirers and critics. The club has been praised for promoting home grown players and club loyalty. Athletic is one of only four professional clubs in Spain in Primera División that is not a sports corporation; it is owned and operated by its club members.
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