Hércules de Alicante Club de Fútbol, S.A.D. ([ˈerkules]) is a Spanish football team based in Alicante, in the autonomous community of Valencian Community. Founded in 1922, it currently plays in Segunda División B and plays its home games at the 30,000-capacity Estadio José Rico Pérez.
After first appearing in La Liga in the 1935–36 season, Hércules would play sporadically in the category for the next 40 years, playing mainly in the second division but going as low as the third. From 1961 to 1969, neighbours Alicante acted as its feeder club.
After a ten-year spell in the top flight, encompassing 12 seasons in the 1970s and '80s, the club only returned again in the 1996–97 campaign. Though eventually relegated, it managed two remarkable comeback wins over Barcelona, which ultimately handed the Liga title to Real Madrid.
In 2004–05, after five years in the third level, Hércules finished second, being subsequently promoted to the "silver category". After posting three consecutive solid seasons, the club narrowly missed out on a return to the top division in 2009, finishing fourth, three points behind last-promotee Tenerife.
The 2009–10 campaign saw Hércules promoted back into the top flight after 13 years in dramatic fashion: losing 0–1 at half-time at Rayo Vallecano, the team fought back to win 2–1 in the penultimate game of the season and leap frog Real Betis into third place. In the last round, a 2–0 away win against relegation-threatened Real Unión guaranteed promotion, with the 4–0 win of Betis over Levante eventually counting for nothing (all three teams – Levante, Hércules and Betis – ended equal on points).
Early into the 2010–11 season, one year, three months and 19 days after Barcelona's last home defeat in the league, Hércules recorded a shock 2–0 win at the Camp Nou thanks to a brace from Nelson Valdez – Barça had won their last 11 home matches, scored at least three times in each of their last six league fixtures and were protecting a 17-game unbeaten streak. Amazingly, however, this was the Alicante outfit's third successive win over the Catalans, having won both meetings in their previous top flight campaign 14 years before; after a solid first round of 19 games the team slumped in the table, eventually ranking in 19th position for an immediate relegation back.
In the 2013–14 campaign, they were relegated to the Segunda División B after finishing in last place in the Segunda División.
In the 2016-17 season, the team returned to stand out, this time, by Copa del Rey where they came to face FC Barcelona. The first match was held in Estadio José Rico Pérez (Hércules' home) where the Catalans sent the reserve team, sparing their starters for a duel against Real Madrid CF. The match ended on the 1-1 score. In the second match at the Camp Nou (Barcelona's home), Hércules recalled a 2-0 victory over Barca in the same stadium in the 2010-11 La Liga. However, trying to repeat this feat was just a dream, the team was crushed in a humiliating way by 7-0.20 seasons in La Liga
43 seasons in Segunda División
13 seasons in Segunda División B
7 seasons in Tercera División
The numbers are established according to the official website:www.herculesdealicantecf.es and www.lfp.esAs of 25 October 2016
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. Iraklis – Since 2003, fans of both teams formed a friendship through the Internet, because "Iraklis" is a Greek name for "Hercules", the Roman name for Heracles, the Greek god of strength. There is even a Hércules supporters club that bears the name Iraklis, in honor of their friendship.