U.D. Leiria

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União de Leiria
Uniao de Leiria.png
Full nameUnião Desportiva de Leiria
Nickname(s)Os Lis
(The ones from the Lis river)
Ground Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa
Chairman Alexandru Tolsticov
ManagerHélder Pereira
League Campeonato de Portugal
2019–20 Serie C, 12th

União Desportiva de Leiria, commonly known as União de Leiria (pronounced  [uniˈɐ̃w̃ dɨ lɐjˈɾiɐ] ), is a Portuguese football club based in Leiria, central Portugal. Founded on 6 June 1966, it currently plays in the Campeonato de Portugal, holding home matches at Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa, with a 24,000-seat capacity.



Leiria's biggest rivals in Portugal are S.C. Beira-Mar, Associação Naval 1º de Maio and Académica de Coimbra, which belong to the same geographical region. In 1979–80, the club first competed in the top division, finishing in 13th position and being the first team inside the relegation zone.

A heavy contender in the battle to reach European competitions in the 2000s, the club was relegated in 2007–08 to the second level, after finishing last. The team would be immediately promoted back, coming in second after champions S.C. Olhanense.

On 23 August 2004, União de Leiria reached the UEFA Intertoto Cup final with Lille. After getting a 0–0 in France in the first leg, the whole city thought it would be possible for the club to win a European competition. However, in the second leg, after another 0–0 draw at their home stadium, the team would lose the game in extra time by 0–2, mostly due to the excessive fatigue. For the history, it was the first Portuguese team to reach the final of this competition.

The 2011–12 season was lived amongst serious financial difficulties, with the squad not being paid their wages for several months, [1] [2] as three coaching moves also happened during the campaign [3] [4] and president João Bartolomeu resigned amongst accusations of ingratitude towards the players. [5] On 29 April 2012, after most of the squad rescinded their contracts, only eight players took the pitch for the league match at home against C.D. Feirense in an eventual 0–4 home loss. [6] [7] The side played the last two matches, against S.L. Benfica and C.D. Nacional, with a complete team, but three players came from the juniors. [8] [9]

After failing to meet the deadline to register the team in Division Two, Leiria were automatically relegated to the third level. [10] Overwhelmed with the task of rebuilding a squad from scratch, the organization hired several players in an attempt to return to the professionals, [11] [12] [13] as a second senior team also begun competing in the Leiria regional leagues, coached by former club player Luís Bilro. [14] On 28 June 2013, the UD Leiria SAD was declared bankrupt in a meeting of creditors, which demanded the payment of a debt amounting to €13.5 million, with the Portuguese state abstaining for demanding a debt of over €3.6 million. [15] The second senior team that competed in the regional league took the place of the SAD by buying their sports rights for €1,000, with the club returning to the Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa after playing their home matches at other grounds for two seasons. [16] [17]

In February 2015, at an extraordinary general assembly, UD Leiria would vote for the creation of another SAD, opening doors to the arrival of Alexander Tolstikov, who after João Bartolomeu would become the new "Lord" of Leiria. The club would have already had a SAD between 1999 and 2013, having been extinguished in the face of its high debt value. The SAD's initial share capital is 40% owned by UD Leiria and 60% owned by DS Investment LLP, of which Alexander Tolstikov is one of those responsible. Thus, DS Investment started to control the main Football team and also the junior team.

Currently, the club is competing in the Campeonato de Portugal (National Third Division).

Current squad

As of 14 September 2021

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

1 GK Flag of North Macedonia.svg  MKD Tomás Bozinoski
2 DF Flag of Portugal.svg  POR João Dias
3 DF Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Dénis Martins
4 DF Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Benny
5 MF Flag of Cape Verde.svg  CPV Babanco
6 MF Flag of Brazil.svg  BRA Ragner
7 FW Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Leandro Antunes
8 MF Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Afonso Caetano
9 FW Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Gonçalo Gregório
11 FW Flag of Brazil.svg  BRA Jair
14 MF Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Bernardo Gomes
15 DF Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Kaká
16 DF Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Pedro Henriques
21 FW Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Renato Alexandre
23 DF Flag of Portugal.svg  POR João Vitor
29 GK Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Fábio Ferreira
44 DF Flag of Brazil.svg  BRA Diego Galo
52 DF Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg  CIV Habib Sylla
55 MF Flag of Brazil.svg  BRA Paulinho
74 GK Flag of Venezuela (state).svg  VEN Luis González
84 FW Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Bryan Rosa
88 MF Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Marcos Silva(on loan from Marítimo)
89 FW Flag of Portugal.svg  POR Nuninho
99 FW Flag of Paraguay.svg  PAR Aníbal(on loan from Palmeiras)

League and cup history

SeasonPos.Pl.WDLGSGAP Cup EuropeNotes
1979–80 1D13306915264921Relegated
1981–82 1D16308418255020Promoted
1989–90 2DC3342095611849
1990–91 2H938141311453541
1991–92 2H83413912343235
1992–93 2H83413813363734
1993–94 2H2341978461945Promoted
1994–95 1D634131011414436
1995–96 1D7341455385047 IC GS
1996–97 1D17348620255330Relegated
1997–98 2H13420104733270Promoted
1998–99 1D634141010362952last 16
1999–00 1D1034101212313542
2000–01 1D53415118464156Best classification ever
2001–02 1D73415109523555
2002–03 1D534131011494749final IC 1st round
2003–04 1D1034111211434545last 16 UC 1st round
2004–05 1D153481412293638last 32 IC runner-up
2005–06 1D73413813444247last 64 IC 3rd round
2006–07 1D73010119252741last 32
2007–08 1D16303720255316last 32 IC
1st round
2008–09 2H2281596462953last 64Promoted
2009–10 1D9309813354135last 32
2010–11 1D10309813253835last 64
2011–12 1D16305421255619last 64Relegated
2012–13 2DS73013710363146last 32
2013–14 33321787433324last 64
2014–15 333016775735392nd rd



Estadio Dr. Magalhaes Pessoa Estadio Municipal de Leiria.jpg
Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa

The Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa was built for UEFA Euro 2004 in 2003, hosting during the competition Croatia's matches against Switzerland (0–0) and France (2–2). It also hosted the 2006 Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira final between FC Porto and Vitória de Setúbal, as well as the following (Sporting CP 1–0 Porto).

The architect who designed the stadium was Tomás Taveira, who also designed stadiums for Euro 2004, including Beira-Mar's Estádio Municipal de Aveiro and Sporting CP's Estádio José Alvalade. The grounds belong to the municipality of Leiria.

Due to an excessive rent, Leiria relocated to the Estádio Municipal in the nearby town of Marinha Grande, for 2011–12. For the following season, the club moved to Campo da Portela in Santa Catarina da Serra, home of U.D. Serra. [19]

After the SAD bankruptcy, the club returned to play its home matches at the Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa.


Jose Mourinho was club manager in 2001-02, his exploits there leading to a Porto move. Jose Mourinho - Inter Mailand (7).jpg
José Mourinho was club manager in 2001–02, his exploits there leading to a Porto move.


União's fans are called Leirienses, and their main group of supporters is Frente Leiria ("Leiria Front").

See also

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  1. João Bartolomeu: "Se não conseguirmos pagar aos jogadores, paciência" (João Bartolomeu: "If we can't pay the players, tough luck") Archived 2015-04-27 at the Wayback Machine ; Relvado, 9 December 2011 (in Portuguese)
  2. Presidente da SAD confirma ordenados em atraso e saída do diretor geral (Chairman confirms due wages and departure of general manager); SAPO Desporto, 9 December 2011 (in Portuguese)
  3. Uniao de Leiria swap coaches... again Archived November 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine ; PortuGOAL, 26 September 2011
  4. Cajuda out, Dominguez in at Leiria; PortuGOAL, 14 March 2012
  5. João Bartolomeu demitiu-se: "São 25 anos a aturar isto" (João Bartolomeu resigned: "It's 25 years putting up with this"); Diário de Notícias, 13 April 2012 (in Portuguese)
  6. Vieira, Dominic. "União de Leiria, the first club to play a 4–3–0". About a Football Report. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  7. Situação leiriense correu o Mundo (Leiriense plight talked abroad) Archived 2012-05-02 at the Wayback Machine ; Record, 30 April 2012 (in Portuguese)
  8. Benfica-U. Leiria, 1–0 (crónica) (Benfica-U. Leiria, 1–0 (report)); Mais Futebol, 5 May 2012 (in Portuguese)
  9. U. Leiria-Nacional, 2–3 (destaques) (U. Leiria-Nacional, 2–3 (highlights)); Mais Futebol, 12 May 2012 (in Portuguese)
  10. U.Leiria fora dos Campeonatos profissionais (U. Leiria out of professional competitions) Archived 2012-09-03 at the Wayback Machine ; Record, 25 May 2012 (in Portuguese)
  11. Reforços para Leiria SAD (Reinforcements for Leiria SAD); O Derbie, 7 August 2012 (in Portuguese)
  12. Duo no Leiria (Duo joins Leiria); O Derbie, 25 August 2012 (in Portuguese)
  13. Clube chegou a acordo com o treinador Ricardo Moura (Club reaches agreement with coach Ricardo Moura); SAPO Desporto, 24 July 2012 (in Portuguese)
  14. Clube inscreve equipa nas distritais (Club signs team in regional divisions) Archived 2012-06-22 at the Wayback Machine ; SAPO Desporto, 19 June 2012 (in Portuguese)
  15. "Abstenção do Estado decisiva para liquidação da SAD da União de Leiria" [State abstention decisive in the bankruptcy of SAD]. desporto.sapo.pt. 28 June 2013. Archived from the original on 1 July 2013.
  16. "SAD declara insolvência e clube sobe ao Nacional de Séniores" [SAD declares bankruptcy and club climbs to Campeonato Nacional]. rr.sapo.pt. 18 July 2013.
  17. "União de Leiria garante direitos desportivos da SAD por mil euros" [União de Leiria assures sports rights from SAD for 1000 euros]. agentedesportivo.com. 17 July 2013. Archived from the original on 25 August 2013.
  18. The UEFA Intertoto Cup: Past Winners. Listed are all 11 teams that won the Intertoto Cup, qualifying for the UEFA Cup.
  19. U. Leiria SAD jogará no Campo da Portela (U. Leiria SAD will play in Campo da Portela); O Derbie, 1 August 2012 (in Portuguese)