10 facts about Newcastle United's Europa League opponents Maritimo

What can we tell you about the Portuguese outfit Newcastle United face off against tonight.

Newcastle United face off against Portuguese side Maritimo tonight, but who are they?

1. Maritimo is a Portuguese football team from the city of Funchal on the island of Madeira. The town is the birthplace of Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

2. They are nicknamed the The Green-and Reds in homage to their kit.

3. According to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics; Maritimo is Portugal’s fifth best team historically, the position they finished last year in the Portuguese League.

4. Maritimo’s main rivals are Nacional and Uniao the other two teams from Madeira with the rivalry between Maritimo and Nacional especially heightened over differences in social class. When a proposal to merge the clubs emerged in the Nighties to form a Madeira club to challenge the Lisbon sides Maritimo fans protested the idea out of sight.

5. Last season saw the sides attendance slip to a record low at just 3,827 average spectators at their Estadio dos Barreiros ground, which is also currently part stadium part construction site as they look to increase its overall capacity.

6. They have won the Portuguese Title just once in their history, way back in 1926.

7. In European competition Maritimo have participated in the Europa League and its predecessor the UEFA Cup on an accumulative eight occasions in their history.

8. Current Real Madrid centre-back Pepe made his first steps into professional football at the club along with Zenit St Petersburg forward Danny. Notable former players also include several Brits as former Wolverhampton Wanderers legend John Richards played for the side in the early-80’s; former Northern Ireland centre-half Colin Hill in the mid-80s and Scotsman Ian Wallace, formerly of Nottingham Forest also playing for the side in the 80’s.

9. Currently the side’s best performance in Europe has been reaching the second round of the 1994-95 UEFA Cup; where they succumbed to Juventus 3-1 on aggregate.

10. They have only ever faced one English team in European competition, Leeds United twice in 1998-99 and 2001-02 famously beating them 1-0 at home in the latter. Other famous victories include a success over Rangers in 2004.

image: © Jan Solo

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