Most Popular Teams' Nicknames

Ozren Podnar reports on soccer teams' nicknames

Chicken and Eagles, Hearts and Buttocks, Devils and Saints

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Player Nicknames

Team NicknamesSoccer teams' nicknames occasionally may be more interesting than the official names. Some are funny, some banal, some pleasing, others offensive. The same club can have more than one nickname, one used by their own supporters, and others by rival fans.

The top Argentinian teams, Boca and River, have double nicks. Boca is called "Xeneizes" by their own fans, which is the way Genoans call themselves in their local dialect, the Boca neighborhood was traditionally Genoan (because of its immigrants from Italy). Boca's alternative nickname is "Bosteros", a generic insult meaning the lowest of the low: "bosta" means manure, and a bostero is anyone that has any dealing with it. The whole of the La Boca neighbourhood near the Bombonera stadium was associated with extreme poverty, garbage dumps and a lack of cleanliness. Originally used as an insult against them, Boca supporters have taken to using "Bosteros" with pride.

While Boca is a team of the working class, River Plate is supported by the middle classes and the wealthy. Players' incomes used to reflect that, earning the team the name of "Millonarios" (Millionaires).

Since 1966, the rest of the country has also called the red-and-whites "Gallinas" (Chicken). Why? After their loss in the Libertadores Cup finals to Penarol in Santiago, they played away at Banfield, whose fans released a red-and white clad chicken - a symbol of cowardice - on the turf. From that moment, River's Monumental stadion has been called "Gallinero" (Chicken shack).

Estudiantes de La Plata are the "Pincharratas" (rat-prickers) because of the doctors and natural science students of the La Plata University who, presumably, spent much of their time doing experiments with lab rats.

The prettiest nickname in Spain is owned by Barcelona's players and fans: "Culés", loosely 'Buttocks' or 'Arses'. The name dates back to the time when Barca used to play at Les Corts stadium. Looking from the street, butts of the spectators sitting in the top row were in clear view, so there was no doubt: Buttocks it had to be and the name stuck until present day.

Their Real Madrid rivals are known as "Merengues", which is the name of a delicious cake that only the wealthy can afford. "Fantasmas" (Phantoms or Ghosts) comes from their all white uniforms.

Real's nickname is not, as some may think, "Los Galácticos". This term only refers to the most famous players, as Zidane, Ronaldo, Figo, Beckham, Raul and Roberto Carlos. After their back-to-back losses in La Liga and the Champions League, the leading Spanish sports' newspaper Marca mercilessly called them "ex-galácticos".

Atletico Madrid bears a less fashionable moniker, "Colchoneros", which refers to the similarity of their red and white stripes to the stripes often found on mattrasses, or 'colchones' in Spanish.

The nickname of Real Racing Club also know as Racing Santander of the Spanish Primera División is "Montañeses" (translation: "highlanders").
Real Racing Club is based in the city of Santander in the North of Spain. Santander is the capital city of the autonomous region of Cantabria, familiarly know as "La Montaña". Cantabria is a Celtic origin word meaning "Highlands". The landscape of the Northern strip of Spain is very mountanious with an oceanic climate (Cantabria is on the shores of the "Mar Cantábrico" known as the "Bay of Biscay" to English speaking people). The countryside is green in Cantabria similar to that of Ireland or Scotland.

Juventus owe their "Vecchia Signora" (Old Lady) title to the simple reason they are the oldest of the great Italian clubs, founded in 1897. Why Lady, and not a Gentleman? Because "Juventus" (Youth) is a latin word of feminine gender. The rival tifosi prefer calling Juventus "Gobbi" (Hunchbacks), and occasionally "Zebre" (Zebras) is heard too.

German teams cannot pride themselves on terribly imaginative nicknames, among those that stand out are "FC Hollywood", dedicated to Bayern München in late nineties, when the club gathered a gallery of local and foreign stars filling the German press with intriguing stories and outspoken phrases (Matthaus, Klinsmann, Papin, Effenberg, Basler et al.) Their bitter rivals Schalke have a completely different profile, being a workers' club from a mining area. Their players are known as "Die Knappen", which indicates young mining apprentices just past their training.

Please Contact Us if you have information on other team's nicknames.


Club Nickname Translation
National Team Fennec Foxes Desert Foxes


Club Nickname Translation
Banfield Taladro Drill
Boca Juniors Xeneizes Genoans


Garbage collectors
Estudiantes Pincharratas Rat Cutters
Independiente Diablos Rojos Red Devils


Rey de Copas Diamond Kings
Racing Club Academicos Academics
River Plate Gallinas Chicken (Cowards)


Millonarios Millionaires
San Lorenzo Cuervos Ravens


Club Nickname Translation
National Team Socceroos  


Club Nickname Translation
Austria Wien Veilchen Violets


Club Nickname Translation
Antwerpen Great Old  
Charleroi Zebras  
Gent Buffaloes  
Germinal Beerschot (GBA) Ratten, Kielse Ratten Rats
Harrelbeke Ratten Rats
St. Truiden Kanaries Canaries
National Team Red Devils  


Club Nickname Translation
Cruzeiro Cruzeiros Crusaders
Flamengo Fla Flemish (abbreviated)
Fluminense Flu River Boys (abbreviated)
Gremio Gauchos  
National Team Canarinha Yellow


Carioca Citizens of Rio


Club Nickname Translation
National Team Lions indomitables Indomitable Lions


Club Nickname Translation
Colo-Colo Cacique Chief
Universidad Católica Cruzados Crusaders


Club Nickname Translation
Dinamo Zagreb Plavi lavovi Blue Lions
Hajduk Majstori s mora Masters from the Coast
Hrvatski dragovoljac Dragovoljci Volunteers
Varteks Krojaci Tailors
Zagreb Pjesnici Poets
National Team
Vatreni Fiery boys


Club Nickname Translation
National Team Danish Dynamite  


Club Nickname
National Team Three Lions
Arsenal Gunners
Aston Villa Villains
Brighton Seagulls
Chelsea Pensioners*, Blues
Crystal Palace Eagles
Derby County Rams
Everton Toffees
Fulham Cottagers
Ipswich Town Tractor Boys
Leeds Utd. Peacocks
Leicester City Foxes
Millwall Lions
Manchester City Citizens
Manchester United Red Devils
Middlesborough Boro
Newcastle Utd. Magpies
Norwich City Canaries
Plymouth Pilgrims
Sheffield Utd. Blades
Sheffield Wednesday The Owls
Southampton Saints
Stockport County Hatters
Sunderland Black Cats
Tottenham Hotspur Spurs


Watford Hornets
West Ham Hammers
Wimbledon Crazy Gang
Wolverhampton Wolves

*Now obsolete


Club Nickname Translation
Lyon Lions Lions
Marseille Minots Boys
Monaco Princes  
Nantes Canaries  
Nice Aiglons Eagles
Strausbourg Cignones Storks
National Team les Bleus The Blues


Club Nickname Translation
Bayern Munich FC Hollywood  
Borussia Folen Foals
Kaiserslautern Roten Teufel Red Devils
Köln Geissböcke Goats
München 1860 Löwen Lions
Schalke Knappen Miner Apprentices
Stuttgart Schwaben Crouts
National Team die Mannschaft The Team


Club Nickname Translation
Ajax Godenzonen Sons of Gods
De Graafschap Superboeren Super farmers
Go Ahead Eagles Supereagles Super eagles
NAC Breda Ratten Rats
National Team Oranje Orange


Club Nickname Translation
Brescia Rondinelle Swallows
Cagliari Isolani Islanders
Fiorentina Viole Violets
Inter Biscioni Adders
Juventus Vecchia Signora Old Lady




Lazio Aquile Eagles
Milan Diavoli Rossoneri Red And Black Devils
Roma Vukovi Wolves
Perugia Griffoni Gryphs
Torino Toro Bull
National Team Azzurri Blues


Club Nickname Translation
National Team Reggae Boyz  


Club Nickname Translation
National Team Blue Samurai  


Club Nickname Translation
América Aguilas Eagles
Atlante Potros de Hierro Iron Horses
Atlético Celaya Toros Bulls
Guadalajara Chiwas Goats
Necaxa Raos Lightning
Santos Guerreros Warriors
Toluca Diablos Devils
UAG Guadalahara Tigres Tigers
UNAM C. de Mexico Pumas Cougars
Veracruz Tiburones Tojos Red Sharks


Club Nickname Translation
National Team Supereagles  

Puerto Rico

Club Nickname Translation
National Team Vaqueros Cowboys


Club Nickname Translation
Benfica Aguias Eagles
Porto Dragoes Dragons
Sporting Leoes Lions


Club Nickname Translation
Dinamo Bucharest Caini Rosi Red Wolves
Steaua Stelisti Stellar Ones
National Team Tricolorii Three Colored Ones


Club Nickname Translation
Maribor Vijolicasti Violets
Olimpija Zmajceki Little Dragons

Serbia & Montenegro

Club Nickname Translation
Crvena Zvezda Cigani Gypsies
Novi Sad Kanarinci Canaries
OFK Beograd Romanticari Romantics
Partizan Grobari Gravediggers


Club Nickname Translation
Aberdeen The Dons  
Celtic Bhoys  
Dundee Utd. Terros  
Dunfermline The Pars  
Falkirk The Bairns  
Heart of Midlothian Hearts / The Jam Tarts  
Hibernian Hibs / Hibees  
Inverness Caledonian Thistle Caley Thistle / Caley Jags  
National Team Supporters Tartan Army  

South Africa

Club Nickname Translation
National Team Bafana Bafana Boys


Club Nickname Translation
Athletic Bilbao Leones Lions
Atlético Madrid Colchoneros Mattress Boys
Barcelona Culés Buttocks
Castellón Orelluts Bats
Espanol Periquitos Parrots, Love Birds
Real Madrid Merengues Kind of Cake


Fantasmas Ghosts
Real Racing Club (Racing Santander) Montañeses Highlanders
Valencia Ches* * after a frequently used word "che", meaning "what"


Bats** **(not used in Spain)
National Team Furia Fury


Club Nickname Translation
Besiktas Kara Kartal Black Eagles
Fenerbahce Kanarya Canaries
Galatasaray Aslan Lions


Club Nickname Translation
National Team Leopards  

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