Origin of the Best Soccer Teams' Nicknames

There are lots of different origins for the best soccer teams' nicknames. Some are because of their colors, and others are from legends or events.
Origin of the Best Soccer Teams' Nicknames

Last update: 26 May, 2023

Some are funny, and others are quite interesting. Some stories are related to history, and others refer to particular events. Here, we’ll tell you the origin of the best soccer teams’ nicknames in the world. Did you know them?

Origin of the best soccer teams’ nicknames

They catch our attention a lot and, although they’re instilled in the minds of soccer lovers, it’s always good to know where they come from and how they became popular. We’ll give you a list of the origin of some of the best soccer teams’ nicknames:

1. Barcelona: the Culés

The natives of the Catalan capital are known by their nickname of Culés. However, where does that particular name come from?

We must go back in time when Barcelona played their games in the Campo de la Industria. As there wasn’t enough room for all of the team’s supporters, some sat on the edge of the sidewall that faced the street.

Passers-by could see from behind those who were watching the game. That’s how they started to be called Culés.

Xavi Hernandez playing soccer on the field.

The Barca men are also known as Blaugranas, which comes from the colors of their jerseys: blue and maroon. Hans Gamper chose these colors in honor of Basel from Switzerland.

2. Soccer teams’ nicknames: Manchester United: the Red Devils

The Red Devils of Manchester, England are one of the most important teams in the world, there’s no doubt about that. We may think it’s because of the color of their jerseys, completely red, but there’s something else behind that nickname.

The nickname was given by the French to the Manchester rugby players who toured the Gallic country in the 1930s. Thirty years later, coach Matt Busy chose him for his soccer team. Then, in 1970, they decided to add the red devil figure to the club’s crest.

3. Juventus: La Vecchia Signora

The Italian team in Turin, one of the oldest in that country, got the nickname Vecchia Signora, which means “old lady.” To understand the term a bit, we must go back to the beginning of the 20th century. Here, the aristocrats who wore certain luxurious clothes were called vecchios signores.


The Juventus champions league.

When Juventus suffered a major economic crisis, the Agnelli family- the owners of the FIAT company- took over the club. This is how they got the name, vecchios signores. Later, the term changed until it became the feminine singular form.

4. Real Madrid: the Merengues

This term is related to the color of the jerseys, (completely white) and reminds us of the meringue dessert. In fact, the journalist Matías Prats made the Merengue nickname famous.

Karim Benzema playing for Real Madrid.

The Real Madrid players are also known as Vikings. This nickname dates back to the sixties, when the club bought many players from northern Europe.

5. River Plate: the Millionaire

One of the two most important teams in Argentine is known by its nickname of Millionaire. Why’s that? A very important signing for the club happened in the thirties. At that time, River bought striker Bernabé Ferreyra for a large amount of money.

That, in addition to the fact that the team’s stadium is located in one of the wealthiest areas of Buenos Aires. Also, the team maintains a policy of high transfers. All of this helped give the team the nickname “Millionaire.”

In addition, the fans of this team are known as Gallinas. Some say it’s because of the colors of their jersey- white and red- but also due to the fact that it’s 1966, their rival, Boca, threw chickens onto the playing field. They did this to mock River’s defeat against Peñarol de Montevideo for the Copa Libertadores.

River Plate is known for having one of the best soccer teams' nicknames.

6. Boca Juniors: Xeneize

The word Xeneize means “Genoese” and that was the nationality of the club founders in the La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires. That’s precisely where the nickname comes from.

Another way of calling those from Boca is Bostero, and it may be due to the bustle or noise they make in the stadium, La Bombonera. On the other hand, it might be a derogatory term because of the waste from the port near the institution.

The origin of soccer teams’ nicknames tell stories of the clubs

The origin of the soccer teams’ nicknames is also interesting for Arsenal, England. They’re called Gunners because it was founded by workers in an armament factory. Also, the Schalke 04 of Germany was nicknamed Miners for being located in a mining area.

Additionally, we could also mention the team in Rome, Italy. They’re called the she-wolf based on the legend in the founding city. There are many more where these come from!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.