The Real Club Deportivo Español, S.A.D. ( Real Club Deportiu Espanyol of Barcelona, S.A.D., in Catalan) is a first division football team that shares the city with FC Barcelona. It was founded in October 1900, thus celebrating 116 years of history. It plays its matches at home in the RCDE Stadium, located between the municipalities of Barcelona of Cornellà and El Prat de Llobregat. It performs its training sessions at the Ciudad Deportiva Dani Jarque, baptized in tribute to the president who died in 2009. The Espanyol has several nicknames that refer to both its players and technical team as well as their fans: "Periquitos", "Blue-Whites” or “Pericos" are some of them. During the 2015-2016 season, the club achieved the 13th position in the BBVA League. The coach of the Blue-White team is Quique Sánchez Flores and Chen Yansheng is the president.
The team we know today as the Real Club Deportivo Español was born in 1900, under the name Spanish Football Society. Its founders were Angel Rodriguez Ruiz, Octavio Aballí, Luis Roca and Joaquín Lane. Angel Rodriguez was the team´s first president and Joaquín, the first captain. They selected a name without strict geographic references, as his idea was to accept all those national players who wanted to practice this sport and could not do so in other teams as they were not Catalans or foreigners (historically, the first football clubs in our country were composed mainly of foreign players).
Soon, a large number of Catalans joined, followed by some Basques and Andalusians, giving the team a more Spanish flavour. The club´s outfit was a yellow shirt and shorts with black stockings. They disputed their first matches with virtually no physical preparation and with a team featuring some of these names: Rafael Balmes, Telesforo Álvarez, Aballí, Carril, Luciano Lizarraga, Enrique Montells, Joaquín Sánchez, Ángel Ruiz, Gaspar Munner, Ángel Rodríguez and Ángel Ponz, among others...
After a few months, the Spanish Football Association (Sociedad Española de Foot-ball) changed its name to Spanish Football Club (Club Español de Foot-ball). The change of name also involved a change of uniform, which became a white shirt and pants and blue socks. By then, the Spanish Football Club had already achieved some victories and suffered some defeats. They had already played a mythical Barcelona derby against the Barça and played matches in the Spanish Gymnastics Medal Federation as well as in the competition that we know today as the Copa del Rey. It also won the last series of the Macaya Cup, and ended as sub-champion in the Barcelona Cup.
However, this outstanding career path achieved during their history was paralyzed by a cessation of the club's activity, from 1906 until 1910. Many of the players went abroad to further their careers (the members were mostly academics), leaving the team without sufficient members. In 1909, some of the emigrants returned to join the few who had remained in Spain and had been transferred to the Football Club X. During this same period, the team diversified, with the inclusion of new modalities, such as fencing and boxing. Having renewed its forces, the team once again changed its name to Spanish Sports Club (Club Deportivo Español), also changing its uniform to the white-blue stripes which today are the club's trademark.
Eight years after winning its first title, the team was crowned with its second Championship of Catalonia. This coincided with the granting, on behalf of Alfonso XIII, of the title "Real (Royal)" and hence the team became the Real Club Deportivo Español (Royal Spanish Sports Club). In 1915, the Espanyol embarked on his first tour of Portugal, playing matches against the Sport Lisbon and the Benfica. The aim was to promote the club abroad, taking advantage of the fame acquired by the recently achieved titles; the RCD Espanyol once again won the Barcelona Cup and its second Copa del Rey (Royal Cup).
By 1920, the Espanyol was already the second most awarded club of Catalunya, preceding the FC Barcelona and achieving the regional titles of 1904, 1912, 1915 and 1918. In 1923, the club established itself in the stadium of Sarriã, which would become its home stadium until 1997. This decade was marked by great victories over national and international teams. Its successes earned the club the privilege of being among the 10 teams competing for the Spanish First League. Additionally, Pitus Prat, one of the club's players, was the first to score a goal during the championship.
The Spanish Civil War severely eroded the club´s structures, with a significant loss of both partners as well as team players. During this period, the team played the Free Spain Cup (Copa de la España Libre) and the Mediterranean Football League (Liga Mediterránea de Fútbol), achieving the third and second position, respectively. During the post-war period, the team won the Spanish Cup (called Copa del Generalísimo) and lost the Spanish Champions Cup (Copa de Campeones de España, now known as the Spanish Super Cup).
During the 60s, the Espanyol performed a tour of the United States and Canada to participate in the American League in New York. However, its initial good results did not allow the team to finalize, with a streak of bad luck; it would subsequently exit the classification for the final match. During the 1961-62 season, the team´s bad performance caused it to descend to the Second Division, however, returning to the First Division during the following year. A few years later, great names, such as Alfredo di Stefano and Ladislao Kubala were signed up. The famous front team is created In 1966, formed by Amas, Marcial, Cayetano Re, Rodilla, José María and Miralles; six players to those who were known as "the 5 dolphins".
The 1970s began with the tour of the Soviet Union in an effort to open further borders. After participating in several editions of the Fairs Cup (now Europe League), the club travelled to the Far East on a successful tour of Tokyo and Manila. In 1978, Ricardo Zamora died in Barcelona, goalkeeper and one of the most beloved and famous icons in the history of Spanish football. Rafael Marañón achieved the number of 111 goals scored, thus becoming, for many years, the player who scored the most goals in the club's entire history. He was only surpassed, years later, by Raul Tamudo, another famous figure of the club.
The 80s and 90s were marked by irregular classifications, including two descents to the Second Division, aggravated by the club's difficult economic situation. This period featured names such as Tintin Márquez, Ernesto Valverde or Pichi Alonso. In 1995 the team acquired its present name, adding the termination "of Barcelona" to the Royal Spanish Sports Club (Real Club Deportivo Español). The economic problems dragged on and the club was forced to sell the Sarriá Stadium, in which it played its last match in 1997. Afterwards and until the inauguration of the RCDE Stadium, the club played in the Olympic Stadium of Montjuic.
The Third Copa del Rey takes place during the season 1999-2000, under the command of Paco Flores. From 2000 onwards, the team is establishes its position in the intermediate section of the league table, with the exception of the seasons 2002-03 and 2005-06, during which the club came perilously close to decline, as well as the 2004-05 season, during which it was at the gates of the UEFA Champions League. In 2006, Miguel Ángel Lotina led the players to victory in the Fourth Copa del Rey. After playing several seasons in the UEFA Cup, it was only in 2006 that the club reached the finals, during which it lost against the Sevilla FC, due to penalties.
The expression "the 3 sharks" refers to Raul Tamudo, Iván de la Peña and Luis Garcia, three high level players who played their hearts out defending the perico's colors. One of the most famous goals achieved by Tamudo was scored for the FC Barcelona during the last minute of the match, snatching the league title for the Barça fans.
After playing twelve seasons in the Montjuic Olympic Stadium, the Espanyol moved to its new home in 2009 - the Stadium of Cornellà- El Prat. However, the happiness of the move was soon overshadowed by the loss of Dani Jarque, the then club captain who died during one of the club's tours in Italy. Today, tribute is paid to this white-blue icon at the 21st. minute of each match, which was the number on the back of his shirt.
Following the 2008-2009 season, the Espanyol initiated a project inspired by the promotion of the club's players during a period of economic austerity. For several seasons, a decline was feared, however, the coaches Mauricio Pochettino, Javier Aguirre and Sergio Gonzalez managed to save the ballot. In 2015, Constantin Gâlcă, a former player of the club, was appointed as manager of the Espanyol. That same year, he simultaneously implemented changes to the club's leadership. Chen Yangsen took over the presidency, buying a package of the club's shares, exceeding 50%. This allowed him to take control of the club and clean up its accounts.
The RCDE Stadium was inaugurated in the summer of 2009. It is rated by UEFA as a 4 Stars Stadium and can seat 40,500 spectators. Of the 182,000 square meters covering the facilities, 36,000 are intended for sports. The lawn is natural and measures 105x68 meters. This stadium is divided into two sectors, the stands and a ring surrounding them. The stadium background is named Gol Prat and Gol Cornellà; these names reflect the location of the RCDE Stadium, located between the towns of Cornellà and El Prat de Llobregat.
Within its compound, the RCDE Stadium features an attached shopping center, 27 bars, a parking garage with 3.278 available parking spaces and plenty of facilities for the press and radio, among others. This stadium is adapted to the needs of people with reduced mobility and holds a certificate of energy efficiency.
Following the forced sale of the Sarriã Stadium, the Espanyol was left without a headquarters in which to accommodate its followers and play matches at home. After a decade playing its matches at the Olympic Stadium of Montjuic, the White-Blues moved to the Cornellà- El Prat Stadium in 2009. The construction of this stadium took six years, at a cost of approximately 95 million euros. The opening match of the field was a victory for the Espanyol, with a score of 3-0 against Liverpool FC. This would be the Dani Jarque´s first match as captain, and sadly, also the last. Following his death in Italy the access gate to the number 21 stadium was renamed as the Dani Jarque gate.
In 2009, the RCDE Stadium was awarded the 2010 Stadium Business Award, which granted the stadium the title of the world's best stadium of that year. In 2014, a sponsorship agreement renamed the RCDE Stadium as Power8 Stadium, a name that was kept until 2015. Several scandals affected the brand and the contract was terminated. Since then, the RCDE Stadium retains this name in search of a new support sponsor.