The eight teams in the final stages of the UEFA Europa League are well known around Europe, but close friends get to call them by less formal names.
With Eagles set to meet Eagles in Lisbon (see this for more details about birds of European football), UEFA.com does the introductions.
Benfica – Águias (The Eagles)
The eagle that tops Benfica’s badge since their formation in 1904 is a symbol of independence, authority and nobility. The club currently has two real-live bald eagles, Vitória (Victory) and Glória (Glory), and before home games one of them flies around the stadium before landing on the club crest.
Eintracht Frankfurt – Adler (The Eagles) or Launische Diva (Moody Diva)
The club logo derives from the coat of arms of Frankfurt, which is a reference to the one-headed imperial eagle of the 13th century; like Benfica, their eagle (Attila) flies before every Frankfurt match. The ‘Launische Diva’ moniker is a nod to Eintracht’s 1990s habit of beating top teams but losing to lower-rated ones.
Arsenal – The Gunners
Arsenal were founded by armament workers in 1886 in Woolwich, a part of south-east London then associated with the military. Hence the name Arsenal, the cannon on the badge and, for consistency’s sake, the nickname. However, the stadium mascot is a not a gunner but a dinosaur, Gunnersaurus Rex.
Napoli – Partenopei
Partenopei reflects the city’s old name, Parthenope. In Greek mythology Parthenope was one of the Sirens who cast herself into the sea and drowned when her singing failed to entice Ulysses. The city was named in her honour as legend had it that her body washed up on the local island of Megaride.
Slavia Praha – Sešívaní (The Stitched)
According to legend, the students who formed the club in 1892 asked their mothers to sew their shirts together for them, having opted for both red and white colours. The red evokes the heart that players put into games; the white stands for fair play and sportsmanship.
Chelsea – The Blues
Chelsea have always worn blue, initially the paler hue of Eton public school, alma mater of the club’s first president. Royal blue was adopted in 1912. ‘Blue is the Colour’ is still played at Stamford Bridge; the song performed by the squad that reached the 1972 League Cup final reached No5 in the UK charts.
Villarreal – El Submarino Amarillo (The Yellow Submarine)
A bunch of supporters started the club’s association with the Beatles during a 1968 match at El Madrigal by changing the words of the hit song to “Amarillo es el Villarreal/amarillo es/amarillo es” (Villarreal are yellow …). Released in 1966, the real song inspired a 1968 cartoon film of the same name.
Valencia – Blanquinegros (White and Blacks) or Los Murciélagos (The Bats)
Valencia’s original kit almost a century ago consisted of white shirts with black shorts and socks, but the bat reference contains even more history, dating back to 1238. Legend has it that a bat landed on top of James I’s flag as he was about to conquer the city – he interpreted it as a positive sign and added it to the city’s coat of arms.