Athletic Club is a football club from Bilbao in Biscay, Basque, Spain. Athletic Bilbao has played in the Primera Division of La Liga since its start in 1928. They have won La Liga on eight occasions.
They are known as the Rojiblancos or Zurigorri because of their red and white striped shirts and as Los Leones because their stadium was built near a church called San Mames (Saint Mammes). Mammes was an early Christian thrown to the lions by the Romans. The lions refused to eat Mames and he was later made a saint. The San Mames Stadium is hence nicknamed "the football cathedral".
The club is known for its cantera policy of bringing young Basque players through the ranks, as well as recruiting top Basque players from other clubs (like Joseba Etxeberria or Javi Martinez). Athletic only signs professional players native to one of the seven Basque provinces: Biscay, Gipuzkoa, Alava and Navarre; and Labourd, Soule and Lower Navarre in France. This has gained Athletic both admirers and critics. The club has been praised for promoting home grown players and club loyalty.