Portuguese Football Teams

Written By Lara Silva

Want to make conversation with a Portuguese person? Think less talking about the weather and more talking about football. Football, or futebol, is the most popular sport in Portugal, enjoyed by most around the country, regardless of gender, race, class, and age. Even those who are not avid watchers of the sports will belong to a Portuguese football team.

Football is what brings the country together, but also apart, to an extent. If you’ve moved to Portugal recently, you might have noticed the rivalry between the “Big Three” – Sporting, Benfica, and Porto. 

Whether you are finding out which Portuguese football team to support or just want some general knowledge on the different teams, we have got you covered. Let’s take a look at the Portuguese Football teams that are in the “Primeira Liga” or First Division.

But first, what is the First Division in Portuguese Football?

Portuguese First Division

Also known as Liga Portugal, the “Primeira Liga” (First League) is the top level of the Portuguese football league system. Established in 1934, over 70 teams have competed in the Primeira Liga. 

Since the 2014-15 season, the Portuguese First Division has been made up of 18 teams.

Only five teams have been crowned winners of the Primeira Liga – Benfica (37), Porto (30), Sporting CP (10), Belenenses (1), and Boavista (1). 

The Primeira Liga has increased its reputation in recent years, occupying the sixth place of UEFA’s national league ranking as of 2022.

Portuguese Football Teams

Let’s take a look at the 18 teams in the Portuguese First Division, perhaps the most popular football teams in Portugal.

The Big Three: Benfica, Porto, and Sporting


The most supported Portuguese club, Benfica, also known as SLB, was founded in 1904 and is one of the Big Three clubs. The team is nicknamed the Eagles, with this animal being its mascot. In 2003, Benfica made its home ground the Estadio da Luz. 

Benfica has won the most trophies in Portugal with 84 wins. Benfica was voted 12th in FIFA Club of the Century and ranked 9th in the IFFHS Top 200 European clubs of the 20th century.

Estadio Benfica. Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia (Unsplash)


Also known as FC Porto, Porto was founded in 1893 in the city of Porto. The team is nicknamed Dragons, seen in the club’s crest or Blue-and-whites due to their shirt colors. Since 2003, Porto have played their home matches at the Estádio do Dragão.

Porto is the second most decorated team in Portuguese football with 83 trophies. However, in international competitions, Porto has won the most wins with seven trophies. Porto is acguallh the only Portuguese club to have won the UEFA Cup/Europa League, the UEFA Super Cup, and the Intercontinental Cup.

Estadio do Dragao, Porto. Photo by Santi Villamarín (Unsplash)


Founded in 1906, Sporting is also part of the “Big Three” with Benfica and Porto. A Lisbon team, Sporting players are nicknamed the lions and the Green and Whites due to their shirt colors. Sporting’s home ground is Estádio José Alvalade, built in 2003.

Sporting comes third place when it comes to trophies in Portugal, with 54 major trophies. Sporting played in the first European Champions Cup match in 1955 and has participated in the most editions of UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League, a tournament where they are ranked 2nd in the all-time club ranking.

Estadio Jose Alvalade, Sporting. Photo by Nídia Piza (Unsplash)

More Football Teams in Portugal

  • Arouca: Founded in 1951 as a FC Porto subsidiary, the club holds home games at Estádio Municipal de Arouca in Porto.
  • Boavista: Founded in 1903, this team from Porto is one of the oldest in Portugal that won the Primeira Liga in 2000.
  • Braga: Founded in 1921 by a group of students, Braga has a rivalry with the “Big Three” and Vitor de Guimaraes. Braga won the Taca de Portugal three times.
  • Casa Pia: Founded in 1920, this team is named after Casa Pia, a children’s charity and its football stadium is Estádio Pina Manique, named in honor of Pina Manique, the founder of the charity.
  • Chaves: This is a club from Chaves which was founded in 1949 and currently plays at Estádio Municipal de Chaves. Chaves has made it to the first division 13 times. 
  • Estoril: A football club from Estoril, Cascais, this team is also known as Estoril Praia. The club holds home games at Estádio António Coimbra da Mota. 
  • Famalicao: Also known as FC Famalicao, this club was founded in 1931 by six friends. The team represents Vila Nova de Famalicao, a town in the district of Braga. 
  • Gil Vicente: Founded in 1924, Gil Vicente is a team from Barcelos. This team is named by the playwright Gil Vicente and won the Segunda Liga twice.
  • Marítimo: Maritimo is the largest football team in Madeira, with over 25,000 subscribed fans. The Maritimo Stadium is located in Funchal.
  • Paços Ferreira: Dating back to the 1930s, the team now holds home games at the 9,000 seat Estádio da Mata Real. The team won the Segunda Liga Twice.
  • Portimonense: A football team founded in 1914 in Portimao, it is the most popular team in the Algarve. The stadium Estádio Municipal de Portimão is where home games are played.
  • Rio Ave: Founded in 1939, Rio Ave is a football team from Vila do Conde, in the district of Porto. It has won the second division twice.
  • Santa Clara: A football team from Ponta Delgada, Santa Clara is the must successful team in the Azores. It is the only team from the Azores to compete in a UEFA competition, having qualified for the UEFA Intertoto Cup and the UEFA Europa Conference League.
  • Vitória SC: Also known asVitória de Guimarães, this football club is based in Guimarães, in the district of Braga. The team has finished third in the Primeira Liga on four occasions. 
  • Vizela: Based in Vizela, Braga, this football team was founded in 1939. Home games are held at the Estádio do Futebol Clube de Vizela. In May 2021, the club won 2nd in the Second League and was then promoted into the First League for the first time in the club’s history since 1985.
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