Groundhopper Guide to Sporting Lisbon

Carter Lawson · Profile
Groundhopper Guide to Sporting Lisbon

Here is our Groundhopper’s Guide to Sporting CP of Lisbon, Portugal.

This member of Portugal’s “big three,” with Benfica and Porto, are emerging from some difficult times and starting to win again, all in a fairly new stadium.

Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Contacts:, (+351) 30 997 1906, #SportingCP

Nicknames: Leões (Lions)

Sporting Lisbon History

Sporting can trace its history back to 1902 when three men created Sport Club de Belas. This club lasted less than a year, but the idea for a sporting club was reimagined again in 1904, when some original members of the Sport Club de Belas created Campo Grande Football Club.

‘This new club included football, fencing, tennis, and running, as well as various social activities. By 1906, a rift had emerged between two parties within the club. One side wanted to focus more on the social activities surrounding the club and the other wanted to strictly focus on the sporting aspects. This led to the two sides splitting with one group leaving to form the Sporting Clube de Portugal on July 1,1906, marking the founding date of Sporting Lisbon.

The club played their first football match in 1907 and also opened their first ground as well as state of the art facilities for football, tennis, and running. This year they also played their first derby match against rivals Benfica. Sporting was a founding member of the Primeira Liga in 1934 and has not been relegated since.

Sporting had their “Golden Years” in the 1940s and 50s, when they won seven league titles between 1947 and 1954, including 4 in a row, which was a record at the time. In 1955 Sporting and Yugoslavian team Partizan played the very first UEFA Champion Clubs’ Cup match. The next year the club opened the José Alvalade Stadium , which was their home ground until 2003. During the 1960s Sporting achieved its first success on the European level when they won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1964. This was the only time a Portuguese club won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, which is now the Europa League.

By the start of the 1980s, Sporting had signed a new English manager named Malcolm Allison, who led them to their first domestic double of a league title and the Portuguese cup. Unfortunately, this would be Sporting’s last trophy win until 1995 when they won the Portuguese Cup over Club Sport Marítimo. This win qualified them for the next year’s Portuguese Super Cup, which they eventually won after 3 legs.

In 2000 Sporting started the new millennium right when new manager and former player Augusto Inácio led them to their first league title in 18 years. Sporting continued their success by winning the 2000 Portuguese Super Cup and another league title in 2002. That was a historic year for the club as a promising young 17 year old named Cristiano Ronaldo (you may have heard of him) played his first game for the club.

Sporting’s home stadium, via Shutterstock

In 2003 the club opened their new stadium, the Estádio José Alvalade, which was built just adjacent to the old stadium. Sporting reached their second European cup final in 2005, but lost to CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Cup Final. During the 2010s the club won two more Portuguese Cups, but failed to win any league titles after 2002.

Things began to go downhill in 2011 when financial mismanagement caught up with Sporting. They reached record high debts, which led to them finishing 7th in the league, their lowest placement ever. From 2009 to 2013 the club went through nine managers, however, by 2014 the club had turned things around and finished 2nd in the league, securing a spot in the Champions League for the first time in 5 years.

Sporting’s rivalry with Benfica reached new heights in 2015 when Benfica’s former coach Jorge Jesus was not re-signed and as a result opted to join Sporting. Sporting  defeated Benfica in the final of the Portuguese Super Cup, but finished second to Benfica in the league.

Sporting won the 2020 Primeira Liga, marking their 19th title and their first since 2002. The next year Sporting won two more domestic trophies, but have failed to win anything since.

2022-23 SEASON: 4th in the Primeira Liga, Third Round Taça de Portugal

2023–24 SEASON: Primeira Liga, Europa League

Sporting have worn green throughout their history (via Shutterstock)

Sporting Lisbon Rivalries

As part of the Portuguese “Big 3”, Sporting’s main rivals are the other two clubs of the Big 3, Benfica and Porto. None of them have been relegated from the Portuguese top flight and only two seasons have had Portuguese champions outside of these three clubs.

Benfica and Sporting Lisbon share an especially intense rivalry as they are both located in Lisbon. This rivalry began over 100 years ago in 1907 when several Benfica players left to join Sporting Lisbon, creating an especially intense atmosphere. Games between the two are known as the “dérbi de Lisboa”. Benfica holds the edge in the overall record between the two with 138 wins to Sporting’s 113, with 67 draws.

Sporting also shares a rivalry with FC Porto. As Lisbon and Porto are the largest Portuguese cities, and the two regions have differing political ideologies, this rivalry is another great game to keep an eye out for on the schedule. Games between the two are known as “O Clássico”. Porto holds more wins over Sporting in their head to head games as they have 91 to Sporting’s 84, with 72 draws.

Sporting Lisbon Women’s Team

The women’s team was originally founded in 1991, but was disbanded after just 4 years. The team was revamped in 2016 and immediately won the national title and Portuguese Cup. They play in the Campeonato Nacional Feminino, which is the top tier of Portuguese women’s football. They play their home games at the Estádio José Alvalade.

Sporting Lisbon Stadium

As previously mentioned, the José Alvalade Stadium replaced the old stadium in 2003 and has played home to Sporting Lisbon ever since. The stadium holds a UEFA 5 star rating and has hosted European Championship games, the UEFA Cup Final, and a number of international matches.

Sporting Lisbon Tickets

Tickets can be purchased directly from the club. Groundhopper Guides also offers several options for tickets at Sporting Lisbon.

Learn more about our Sporting Lisbon Tickets.

Or fill out the form below to get a quote for a game or two!

Written By Carter Lawson
Carter Lawson, Content and Social Media Director · Profile

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