Levante Union Deportiva was founded in 1909 as Levante Futbol Club and takes its name from the ‘levante’ wind that blows into Valencia near to where the club’s headquarters was initially located.
After its ground was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, Levante merged with neighbours Gimnastico and in 1941 became Levante Union Deportiva, with today’s club colours dating from that era and the 'azulgrana' home kit originally that of Gimnastico.
The next two decades were spent in the lower reaches but in 1963 Levante finally made the top flight, although the stay lasted just two seasons. Deep in debt in the 1960s, the club sold its ground and built the Ciutat de Valencia stadium it occupies today, with home games played at Valencia’s Mestalla during construction.
However, the next 30 years were a struggle – although the club pulled off a major coup in 1981 with the signing of the legendary Johan Cruyff – and it was not until 2004 that Levante finally returned to La Primera. Since then they have been relegated twice and promoted twice, enjoying the finest La Liga campaign in their history in 2011-12, finishing sixth and qualifying for Europe for the very first time.