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Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito, commonly referred to as LDU de Quito, Liga de Quito, or simply la Liga, is a professional football club based in Quitomarker, Ecuadormarker. It plays in the Serie A, the highest level of the Ecuadorian professional football league.

LDU Quito is the current holder of the Recopa Sudamericana having won the 2009 edition. Their participation in the Recopa Sudamericana is attributed to winning the 2008 Copa Libertadores, the first international title ever won by an Ecuadorian club (the Recopa Sudamericana being second). LDU Quito was also the runner-up at the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup. To add to their international tally, they have won a total of 20 domestic titles, including nine Serie A championships, two Serie B titles, a record six professional Inter-Andean titles, and three amateur Pichincha titles. LDU Quito is considered the most successful Ecuadorian club in history.

The club has its roots in the semi-pro sports teams at the Central University of Ecuador, and was officially founded in 1930. Liga's classic rivals include Quito clubs Aucas, Deportivo Quito and El Nacional. The squad plays its home games at the Estadio de Liga Deportiva Universitariamarker, better known as La Casa Blanca.


Creation and early years (1930-1953)

LDU Quito's roots lie in a semi-pro sports team based out of the Universidad Central del Ecuador in 1918, headed by Dr. César Jácome Moscoso. Under the leadership of Dr. Bolívar León, the club was officially founded on January 11, 1930. In the early days, Liga participated in a variety of disciplines, including soccer, basketball, athletics, boxing, baseball, swimming, ping-pong, and chess. The club's initial budget was about 500 sucres. The first team's players were students from the university, and had to pay for their own uniforms, medicines, and expenses. Dr. León designed the first uniform, placing its crest, a white "U" on an inverted red and blue triangle, on a white shirt, honoring the team's beginnings at the university. Amongst Liga's first players were Carlos Andrade Marín, Oswaldo Mosquera, Alfonso Cevallos, Alfonso Troya and "El Mono" Icaza.

1930 squad
In 1932, LDU Quito won their first football title at an amateur Pichincha tournament; there was no national amateur league at the time. Five teams participated: Liga, Gladiador, Gimnástico, Atlético, and Cleveland. Liga won all their games, and in the final match, played at the El Ejido Municipal Stadium, defeated Gladiador by a score of 4-0. Playing for Liga were Jorge Zapater, Eduardo Flores, Alfonso Cevallos, César González, Jorge Vallarino, Jorge Naranjo, Bolívar "Ñato" León, Alejandro Dávalos, Humberto Yáñez, Humberto Freire, and Ernesto Guevara, with Bolívar León as coach. LDU would also win amateur titles in 1952 and 1953, before the league turned professional the following year.

Beginning of professional era (1954-1966)

By 1954, the amateur football association in Pichincha had evolved into the Asociación de Fútbol No Amateur de Pichincha ( ), which subsequently organized a professional league for their member clubs from Quito and Ambatomarker. The inaugural Campeonato Professional Interandino ( ) was held in 1954. Liga won the league's first title, under the management of Lucho Vásquez. The club finished as the runner-up in 1955 and 1956, before winning again in 1958 under Argentine Roberto Ortega. The club won four titles during the 1960s, in 1960, 1961, 1966, and 1967, and finished as runner-up in 1962, 1963, and 1964. LDU Quito had the most successful run of any professional Interandino-era club, accumulating a total of 6 regional titles.

In 1957 and from 1960 onwards, winning the Interandino title qualified a team to participate in a tournament which crowned a national champion of Ecuadorian professional football. Liga first participated in 1960, after winning the Interandino cup that year. The team's three subsequent Interandino victories did not lead to a national title; the club's best performance was a third place finish in 1964.

Foreign players became integral to the squad during the 1960s. International players included Paulistamarker José Gomes Nogueira in 1960, Chileanmarker Román Soto in 1961, and Paraguayanmarker José María Ocampo in 1966.

National success, relegation, and comeback (1967-1989)

In 1967, all regional tournaments were discontinued in favor of a single national tournament. Liga won its first national championship in 1969, one year after joining the new league, under the leadership of Brazilian José Gomes Nogueira. Liga's ranks at the time included Francisco "El Tano" Bertocchi, Jorge Tapia, Armando "Tito" Larrea, Carlos Ríos, Santiago Alé, Enrique Portilla, and Ramiro Tobar. Liga's victory granted the club its first Copa Libertadores participation in 1970, where it reached the second phase of the tournament, with "El Tano" Bertocchi tying for the title of top goalscorer of the tournament.

LDU Quito's success was short-lived; in 1972, the club finished seventh of the eight teams participating in the Serie A. At the time, only four teams from the province of Pichincha could play in the top flight. As the worst-performing Pichincha team, Liga took part in a playoff match against the best-performing Pichincha team in Serie B, Universidad Católica, for a berth in the next season's Serie A tournament. Liga lost the match, relegating it to Serie B for the 1973 season, at the end of which the club faced a second relegation, down to the Segunda Categoria of Ecuadorian football. The club was able to gain promotion back to the Serie B in time for the 1974 season. After winning the first stage of the 1974 Serie B, Liga returned to the Serie A after two years in the lower flights. Liga's rise continued as the team won their second national title after defeating El Nacional. The success was followed by another title win in 1975, marking Liga's first back-to-back national championships. Liga's 1975 and 1976 Copa Libertadores participations saw the squad twice reach the semifinals of the continental tournament. Key to Liga's success were players Polo Carrera, Oscar Zubia, Jorge Tapia, Gustavo Tapia, Walter Maesso, Juan Carlos Gómez, Ramiro Tobar, Juan José Pérez, and Roberto Sussman, along with Colombian coach Leonel Montoya. Liga would round out the decade with a runners-up finish in 1977, allowing for another Copa Libertadores participation in 1978.

In contrast to the team's good performances after coming back from relegation, the 1980s were a dismal decade for the club. Liga's best performance during that period was a runners-up finish in 1981, and a subsequent Copa Libertadores participation in 1982. Player Paulo Cesar was the top Serie A goalscorer in 1981.

Rise to powerhouse status (1990-present)

In the two decades since 1990, LDU Quito enjoyed a period of success, winning six more national titles to complement its six Interandino titles and three prior Serie A titles. The team reached the semifinals of the 2004 Copa Sudamericana, matching their previous best international performances in 1975 and 1976, when they reached the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores.

On July 2, 2008, Liga became the first-ever Ecuadorian team to win the Copa Libertadores, after defeating Fluminense by 3-1 in a penalty shootout, after tying 5-5 on aggregate. LDU Quito's Libertadores title gained the club an automatic berth in the semi-finals of the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup, becoming the first non-Argentine or Brazilian CONMEBOL squad to participate in the tournament. Liga defeated Pachuca by 2-0 in their semi-final match, advancing to the final against 2007-08 UEFA Champions League winners Manchester United. Liga lost the final, which was played on December 21 at Yokohama, Japanmarker, by a score of 1-0.

In June 2009, Liga, as the 2008 Copa Libertadores champion, participated in the Recopa Sudamericana against the 2008 Copa Sudamericana champion, Internacional of Porto Alegre, Brazil. LDU Quito won the first leg, played at Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegremarker, by a score of 1-0, with a goal from Claudio Bieler. In the second leg, played at La Casa Blanca, Liga won 3-0 with goals from Carlos Espínola, Claudio Bieler, and Enrique Vera. The 2009 Recopa title is Liga's second international title, as well as being the second international title ever achieved by any Ecuadorian club.

Liga again is a finalist in a continental tournament the following year in the 2009 Copa Sudamericana. On their way to the finals, the disposed of Libertad of Paraguaymarker, Argentinemarker clubs Lanús and Vélez Sársfield, and Uruguayanmarker club River Plate. Their opponent in the Finals is Brazilianmarker club Fluminense, the second time they meet in an international finals in 17 months. Just as in 2008, Liga took the first leg at home with an impressive 5–1.

LDU Quito contributed many players to Ecuador's 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup-qualifying squads. Liga was the South American squad that contributed the most players to national teams, a total of seven Ecuadorian players: Patricio Urrutia, Edison Méndez, Agustín Delgado, Cristian Mora, Paúl Ambrosi, Giovanny Espinoza, and Néicer Reasco. Liga also contributed four players to Ecuador's first title-winning Under-17 squad, which won Ecuador's first official international football trophy at the 2007 Pan American Games. The four players were Deison Méndez, Pablo Ochoa, Carlos Delgado, and Israel Chango.

Colors and badge

Historically, Liga's badge consisted of a large red block-letter "U". In the 1990s, the team adopted the current badge, a white "U" superimposed on an inverted triangle. The colors of the triangle were the deep red and blue of the flag of the city of Quitomarker. Throughout most of the decade and into the 2000s, the crest carried several blue stars above it representing Liga's league championships. After being removed from the jersey for a period of time, the blue stars were replaced by a single yellow star atop the badge following the Copa Libertadores win in 2008. A second star is expected to be added to commemorate the 2009 Recopa Sudamericana title.

As indicated by their nickname, los Albos (The Whites), Liga's kit is historically all-white, with the team's crest over the left breast. The current away kit consists of a gold-colored shirt with gray piping, gray shorts and socks. Previous alternate kits were grey with orange detailing (domestically), and black with red detailing (for the Copa Libertadores). During 2008, special kits were worn for the Copa Sudamericana (gold kit) and the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup (black kit). Umbro is the team's kit provider, and Swiss cement company Holcim is the team's current shirt sponsor since 2008. Powerade and Chevrolet are also sponsors.


The Casa Blanca during a 2008 Copa Libertadores match against San Lorenzo
A southerly view from the stadium's upper grandstands

Since 1997, LDU Quito has played their home games at Estadio de Liga Deportiva Universitariamarker, in the northern part of the city. It is the largest stadium in Quito in terms of capacity, and the second largest in Ecuador after the Estadio Monumental Banco Pichinchamarker in Guayaquilmarker. Its most well-known nickname, La Casa Blanca (English: The White House), comes from the stadium's white exterior, in homage to Liga's white uniform. Prior to 1997, Liga's home games were played at the Estadio Olímpico Atahualpamarker, where the Ecuadorian national team and several other Quito clubs play their home games.


La Muerte Blanca during a home match.
LDU Quito has the largest fan base of any club in Quito, and is one of the three most popular teams in Ecuador. The club's fans and supporters are known as liguistas (singular: liguista). The team's most diehard liguistas are known as La Muerte Blanca (English: The White Death). During home games, these fans situate themselves in the southern general stands of the Casa Blanca where they fervently cheer for Liga using large banners, flares, and drums.


LDU Quito has formed a number of footballing rivalries throughout its history. The longest-standing rivalry is with Sociedad Deportiva Aucas, a southern Quito squad founded in 1945, making the two clubs the oldest in the city. Liga-Aucas matches are referred to as El Superclásico de Quito ( ), and the rivalry traces its history back to the first match on February 1, 1945, which ended in a 1-1 tie. A second match, played on February 18, 1945, ended in a 2-2 draw. At the end of the 90 minutes, the game was 2-1; the timekeeper ended the match, but the referee did not notice, allowing the game to continue into extra time, where Aucas equalized the score. The Superclásico has not been played since 2006, when Aucas was relegated to the Serie B.

The small number of teams in the Ecuadorian first division means that matches between any two teams are played several times during the year, allowing important rivalries to develop between most of the teams. LDU Quito has rivalries with a number of teams in Quito: the Clásico Capitalino against Deportivo Quito, local derbies against El Nacional, ESPOLI, and now-defunct club Politécnico; and also with teams from around the country, including Guayaquilean clubs Barcelona and Emelec. Barcelona has been unable to defeat Liga at La Casa Blanca in more than twelve years of play there.

Current squad

From the youth squad

2008 Copa Libertadores winners squad

Coach: Edgardo Bauza

Notable players

Listed according to debut.

Top scorers

LDU Quito has had five players become the season top-scorer in the Serie A, five players become the top-scorer in the Campeaonato Profesional Interandino, three players as the top-scorer in the Copa Libertadores, and one player become the top-scorer of the Copa CONMEBOL. The team's all-time top scorer is José Vicente Charro Moreno, with 68 goals.

Serie A
  • Coutinho (1966, 13 goals)
  • Francisco Bertocchi (1969, 26 goals)
  • Paulo Cesar (1981, 25 goals)
  • Janio Pinto (1988, 18 goals)
  • Diego Herrera (1993, 21 goals)

  • Eduardo Bores (1954, 8 goals)
  • Armando Larrea (1963, 7 goals)
  • Epifanio Brizuela (1963, 7 goals)
  • Nelson Cabezas (1963, 7 goals)
  • Coutinho (1967, 7 goals)

Copa Libertadores Copa CONMEBOL

Noted managers





Competition Champion Runner-up Other info
Serie A 48 1603 675 431 497 2461 1930 +531 - - 9 3 4th all-time
Copa Libertadores 14 121 46 29 46 171 167 +4 167 46.01% 1 0 Best: Champion (2008)
Copa Sudamericana 6 30 12 9 10 55 43 +12 45 48.39% 0 0 Best: Finalist (2009)
Copa CONMEBOL 1 4 2 1 1 8 7 1 7 58.33% 0 0 Best: Quarterfinals (1998)
Club World Cup 1 2 1 0 1 2 1 1 3 50.00% 0 1 Best: Runner-up (2008)
Recopa Sudamericana 1 2 2 0 0 4 0 +4 6 100% 1 0 Defending champion
Note: Updated as of November 18, 2009 (except the Serie A).

See also



External links

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