Athletic Bilbao cantera
The cantera of Spanish professional football club Athletic Bilbao is the organisation's youth academy, developing players from childhood through to the integration of the best prospects into the adult teams. The final category within the youth structure is the Juvenil A under-18/19 team which represents the club in national competition; the successful graduates usually move to the club's affiliated team for younger players, CD Basconia, or less direct to the reserve team, Bilbao Athletic, both of which are considered part of the cantera due to being stages in progression towards the senior team, albeit competing in the adult league system. The academy is based at the club training complex, the name used informally to refer to the system itself; the top football clubs in the Spanish leagues place great importance in developing their cantera to promote the players from within or sell to other clubs as a source of revenue. As a club who have a small pool of players to choose from due to their Basque-only policy, this focus on home-grown talent is more vital to Athletic Bilbao.
Most of the senior team players in recent seasons are youth academy graduates: 15 of the squad in 2014. In 2016, Athletic's total of 17'homegrown players' still at their formative club was the highest across Europe's'big five' leagues more than all other elite clubs apart from neighbours Real Sociedad. Including eight former trainees at other eligible clubs, Athletic's total of 25 homegrown players ranked as the fifth-highest across the continent, although only third in Spain behind Real Madrid and FC Barcelona who retained just a few of the many high-level professionals they produced. Moreover, further end-of-year analysis demonstrated that these graduates were not backup squad members but integral elements of the team, involved in 64% of the minutes in the 2016–17 La Liga, where they finished 7th; the core of boys from the local Biscay province are first introduced into the Lezama Alevín teams at around 10 years of age and advance by an age group every season through Infantil and Juvenil levels.
The players who are retained by Athletic after their Juvenil A spell join the club's farm team in Basauri, CD Basconia, playing at the regionalised fourth level of the Spanish adult system. Their squad is expanded further with new signings from the wider regions's youth clubs, most notably Danok Bat and Antiguoko who challenge the professional academy teams for the title in their División de Honor group. A number of senior players have emerged from the Txantrea club in Pamplona who have a collaborative agreement with Athletic; the players spend one or two seasons at Basconia, some going out on loan to other local clubs, before the best are promoted to the reserve team Bilbao Athletic and on to the senior team when considered ready to do so. There are exceptions to this sequence; the club received its first large transfer windfall for a player who had graduated from the youth system since the €12 million deal of summer 2005 which took Asier del Horno to Chelsea in January 2018, when Aymeric Laporte moved to Manchester City for a fee of around €64 million, his contractual release clause amount.
That deal was eclipsed seven months when goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, an Athletic player since the age of 9, was acquired by Chelsea for his release clause of €80 million, making him the world's most expensive goalkeeper. The Juvenil A team play in Group II of the División de Honor Juvenil de Fútbol as their regular annual competition, their main rivals in the league group are Real Osasuna. The under-17 team, Juvenil B, plays in the Liga Nacional Juvenil, the lower division of the same structure; the team regularly participates in the Copa de Campeones Juvenil and the Copa del Rey Juvenil, qualification for, dependent on final league group position. In these nationwide competitions the opposition includes the academy teams of Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid. For many years Athletic have been active in entering their youth team into international tournaments to gain experience, in recent times these events have gained prominence in the football calendar. In 2012 the Juvenil team appeared in the invitational NextGen Series but this was subsequently discontinued.
In 2013-14 Athletic's senior team qualified for the Champions League group stages, meaning that the Juvenil squad could play in the 2014-15 version of the UEFA Youth League. In the subsequent years there was no further chance to participate in that competition due to the senior team failing to qualify; the alternative route into the Youth League would be to win the previous season’s Copa de Campeones but Athletic Juvenil have so far been unable to achieve this. A younger age group competes in the Manchester United Premier Cup annually. In 1998 Athletic, coached by future senior team boss Ernesto Valverde, won the tournament, although none of the players involved - not Player Of The Tournament Jonan Garc
The Athletic–Barcelona clásico refers to football matches between Athletic Bilbao and FC Barcelona, two clubs competing in Spanish football competitions. The two clubs are among the oldest in the country, have participated in every season of the national championship, La Liga. Owing to this, as well as contesting eight finals of the Copa del Rey, it is the third most-played football fixture in Spain, after the meetings of each with the third constant member of the league, Real Madrid. Due to this, it has been referred to as a Clásico, the modern Spanish term for a significant and traditional fixture, not a derbi based on geographical proximity; the relationship between Athletic and Barcelona has been healthy aside from certain periods when competitiveness became hostility, such as in the early 1980s. By the turn of the 21st century, the rivalry had become a historical concept due to the disparity in the fortunes of the clubs and the lack of a local element, but their frequent meetings in matches of importance, including three Copa del Rey finals, restored some relevancy to the fixture.
Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona are both owned by their socios who elect a president to oversee club affairs. They place great importance in developing local players through their cantera, were among the last major clubs to adopt a commercial sponsor logo on their jerseys; as the most successful clubs in their native regions and seen by many of their supporters as the sporting embodiment of the native population, the clubs have important and similar roles in the national football culture, with Athletic's adherence to a unique'Basque only' player policy and Barcelona's efforts to become the world's best while maintaining and promoting a distinct Catalan identity exemplifying two diverse approaches to being a sporting symbol of their homelands. Barcelona in particular have a far more intense rivalry with Real Madrid – perceived to represent the dominant Castile region and the Spanish royal family – sometimes known as the Gran Clásico, it has become El Clásico. Athletic Bilbao's attitude towards Real Madrid is more frosty than their relationship with Barcelona due to the differences in the political and cultural identity of the clubs, they have a significant local rivalry in the Basque autonomous region with Real Sociedad.
The date of the first meeting between the two clubs is a matter of debate. The final of the 1902 Copa de la Coronación was played between Club Biscaya. Athletic regard themselves as the successor to the Biscaya team and the Copa Coronación as the first edition of the Copa del Rey, including it with wins in their official honours. However, the Spanish Federation gives 1903 as the commencement date for the Copa del Rey, disregarding the previous year's tournament in its records, so it has never been established if they regard Biscaya and Athletic as the same club or not. Barcelona's team in the final included players from Hispania AC, meaning theirs was something of a combined force rather than a single club entity. Athletic and Barcelona were both successful in the early years of the national cup: between 1903 and 1920, the Basques won seven Copas and the Catalans three, but they did not face each other at any stage of the tournament until their first undisputed meeting in the 1920 Final held in Gijón, which Barcelona won 2–0.
In the following edition, Barcelona withdrew in protest after the federation changed the venue of the final to Bilbao, it was the'home' club who took the trophy. Regional qualifying leagues were introduced, Athletic became the dominant club in the Biscay Championship while Barça were the strongest in the Catalan football championship. In that period, the two clubs introduced measures which led to them becoming important symbols of their respective homelands, Athletic implementing a policy of using only local Basque players in response to being criticised by opponents for selecting too many foreigners, Barça adopting Catalan as their official language. In that era, matches were played by representative teams from each of the regional leagues, including several fixtures between Catalonia and the Basque Country; the teams did not meet again prior to the establishment in 1929 of a national professional league championship, La Liga, which would see them meet and become rivals for the title: Barcelona won the first edition but failed to make much impact thereafter, suffering the humiliation of a 12–1 defeat at the hands of Athletic Bilbao in 1931 and losing the 1932 Copa del Rey Final to the Lions.
Athletic were champions four times in the following seven seasons up to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. In broad terms and the Basque Country fought on the losing Republican side in the conflict, the victorious Nationalist regime soon introduced measures against regional languages and cultures. In 1941, football teams with'foreign names' and symbols were required to amend them to a Spanish equivalent, thus Club de Fútbol Barcelona and Atlético de Bilbao became the official titles of the historic clubs and the Catalan flag was replaced with
Basque football derbies
The term Basque derbies refers to the various local derbies between the football teams based in the Basque Country, Spain. This can include the province of Navarre outside of the autonomous community, it refers to individual matches between the teams, but can be used to describe the general ongoing rivalry between the clubs and fans. As of the 2018 -- 19 season, there are four clubs in La Liga; the major rivalry is between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad, representing their home provinces of Biscay and Gipuzkoa, known as'the' Basque derby, played over 140 times in the league alone. Neither of the two smaller clubs, Deportivo Alavés and SD Eibar, have won any major honours, with Alavés coming closest by finishing runners-up in the 2000–01 UEFA Cup and the 2016–17 Copa del Rey; the Babazorros, based in the regional capital Vitoria-Gasteiz, is the larger club of the pair with a bigger fanbase and stadium, they have spent 12 seasons in the top division across their history. Alavés were the highest-ranked Basque team for the first time in 1999–2000 when they finished 6th, repeated the feat two years with 7th place.
In contrast, the town of Eibar, located midway between Bilbao and San Sebastián, has a population of under 30,000 with many of the residents supporting either Athletic or Real Sociedad, the club's first campaign in the Primera was in 2014–15. Eibar have remained with the elite since, despite finishing the first campaign in a relegation place – their survival was due to another club's administrative demotion, their stadium is of modest stature. Eibar's 9th place in the 2017–18 La Liga campaign made them the highest-ranking Basque club for the first time ever. A dramatic match between Alavés and Real Sociedad took place in June 2008 at Mendizorrotza, with both clubs involved in battles at either end of the second division table going into the penultimate round. Real looked to have done enough to secure a win until the final minutes when two late goals turned the result and gave Alavés all three points, which proved crucial as they escaped relegation by one point. Nine years earlier, with both teams in the top tier, Alavés had again stayed clear of the drop zone with a 2–1 win at home to Real Sociedad on the last day.
Having never met in a competitive match during their 70-year coexistence, Eibar achieved a shock victory in November 2012 when they eliminated Athletic Bilbao, the previous season's finalists, from the 2012–13 Copa del Rey on away goals. The second leg at the original San Mamés was the last cup tie played at the stadium; the relationship between Alavés and Eibar became more strained in 2017 when CD Vitoria, Eibar's incorporated farm team gained promotion and upgraded to municipally-owned facilities in the city. A short time beforehand, Alavés had acquired the services of Eibar's youth academy director; the canteras of Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad have been analysed as being among the most productive in Europe, with the vast majority of the players originating from the Basque region. By contrast, Alavés and Eibar have used few locals in their periods of relative success due to there being an insufficient number Basque players of the required quality – all who show potential at a young age are recruited by the larger duo.
Toquero and Garitano were youth players at the fourth club, the latter was the manager who led Eibar from the third tier to the first in consecutive seasons between 2012 and 2014. In 2019, Garitano faced up to Eibar with three former Armeros players, all signed the previous summer, in his team: Berchiche, Dani García and Ander Capa. No coaches have taken charge of all four clubs, but Rafael Iriondo, José María Amorrortu and Baltasar Albéniz managed three. While they are minnows in La Liga, Eibar have been much at the head of the food chain of small-town Basque football since the 1980s and have competed at the same level as their geographical neighbours; until their rapid rise, Eibar's closest battle at a provincial level was with Real Unión from Irun – although the two towns are on opposite sides of Gipuzkoa – with both existing well below local heavyweights Real Sociedad in the regional pecking order and on friendly terms with them due to the clear disparity in their statures. Something of a rivalry developed between Alavés and CD Mirandés during t
Athletic Bilbao in European football
Athletic Bilbao, a professional football club based in Bilbao, Basque Country, has competed in international tournaments as representatives of La Liga since 1956. The club's first entry into an official competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations was the European Cup in 1956–57 as national champions. Athletic have yet to win a continental trophy in 32 attempts, up to and including the 2017–18 campaign, they finished runners-up in the two-legged 1977 UEFA Cup Final, losing to Juventus on the away goals rule, in the 2012 UEFA Europa League Final which finished 3–0 to compatriots Atlético Madrid. The club have twice reached the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, in 1998–99 and 2014–15, but did not qualify for the next phase on either occasion; the striker Aritz Aduriz contributed 34 European goals for the club over a six-year spell from 2012 to 2018, winning the Europa League's top scorer award twice. The player with the most appearances, winger Markel Susaeta, was heavily involved in that period as well as during the 2011–12 Europa League.
From 1941 until 1975, the club was known as Atlético de Bilbao following a decree from the ruling regime of the period that foreign words should not be used – the Athletic name, adopted at the turn of the 20th century, reflected English connections to football in the area. Therefore, any references to Atlético Bilbao in matches during the period reflect the official title at the time, it is traditional for the captains of teams visiting Athletic's stadium for the first time to present a bouquet of flowers to a bust of the club's 1920s star Pichichi. Since it is rare for Athletic to encounter new opponents in domestic football, most of these brief pre-match ceremonies take place prior to European ties. Athletic's first experience of European competition was the non-UEFA Latin Cup held at the end of the 1955–56 season in which they were champions of Spain. C. Milan; the obscure status of that competition, which ended in 1957, have meant its statistics are not always recorded by the participants – the club's website lists the two matches as friendlies with minimal information although they were taken at the time.
Winning the domestic league granted Athletic entry to the European Cup, the first edition of, won by Spanish rivals Real Madrid. During the 1956–57 campaign, They defeated FC Porto in the opening round and were drawn against Budapest Honvéd of Hungary at a significant point in that nation's history. Before the first leg of their tie – scheduled for Budapest – had been played, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 began; the Honvéd players, who formed the backbone of the'Mighty Magyars' international side, were out of the country, but their families remained at home amidst the chaos of the uprising. The legs were switched, with Athletic winning narrowly 3–2 in Bilbao; the second leg was played a month in Brussels after Honvéd, unwilling to return to Hungary, took part in several exhibition matches around the continent. That return ended in a 3–3 draw with Athletic progressing 6–5, although Honvéd played a portion of the match with ten men after the goalkeeper was injured. Honvéd continued to play tour matches across Europe and in South America for some time, until most returned home.
Czibor, Sándor Kocsis and captain Ferenc Puskás did not go back and had to serve bans for their defection before they were able to play for their new clubs – Athletic's domestic rivals FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Honvéd would not be a major force in the game again. Athletic's next opponents were the young Manchester United squad known as the Busby Babes, who progressed after another battle ending 6–5. After 85 minutes of the first leg in Bilbao, the home side led 5–2 before the Red Devils scored a third goal, giving themselves a more achievable target in Manchester, it was with five minutes remaining in the return that they found the decisive goal to win 3–0; the United players had helped to clear snow off their aeroplane at Bilbao Airport to enable them to fly home after the first leg. It would be nine years before Athletic played in Europe again, although a Copa del Generalisimo win in 1958 and three league finishes in the top five achieved in the period would have been sufficient to qualify in eras.
In the 1964–65 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup tournament, the club progressed through two early rounds before meeting Scotland's Dunfermline Athletic. Both won their home leg 1–0 necessitating a playoff in Bilbao, won 2–1 by the home side with a late Fidel Uriarte goal; the quarter–final opponents were another Hungarian side, Ferencváros, the tie finished 3–3 on aggregate. Athletic's next entry into Europe in the 1966–67 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup was a short unhappy venture, as Red Star Belgrade won 5–0 in the first round, first leg match in Belgrade, which remains the club's heaviest European defeat. Prior to the match, the Yugoslav side's manager had underplayed his team's strength, stating "The best we can hope for is a draw". A 2–0 win at home could not retrieve the situation for Athletic. Red Star did not have much impact on the competition, losing to another Spanish club Valencia in the next round, but their domestic rivals Dinamo Zagreb went
El Viejo Clásico
El Viejo Clásico known as El Otro Clásico is the name given to any football match between Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid. Until 10 December 2011, this fixture was the most played in the history of Spanish football, when it was surpassed by El Clásico. However, it remains the most played game in the Copa del Rey; these two clubs and Barcelona are the only three teams to have participated in all editions of La Liga, the national league championship. Both are owned by their socios, their first meeting occurred in the final of the first edition of the Copa del Rey, played on 8 April 1903. That match has been identified as a catalyst for the establishment a few weeks of what would become Club Atlético de Madrid, after some Madrid-based Basque students among the spectators were inspired by the comeback victory by Athletic Bilbao and decided to form a local branch of the club, their first match at the original San Mamés took place in that competition in 1920. Meetings became common as Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid dominated the regional tournaments, the winning of which granted access to the Copa del Rey.
The Basques and Castilians met in nine Cup finals between 1903 and 1958. On 21 April 1929, Athletic Real Madrid met for the first time in La Liga; the 1929 Copa del Rey semi-final second leg in Bilbao became known as the'frog match', after a local company distributed toys which made frog-like noises to increase the noise level in the stadium to distract the visitors, who were 3–1 up from the first leg. The ploy failed resoundingly, with Real Madrid recording a 4–1 win to progress 7–2; the two clubs would share ten of the first 25 championships either side of the Spanish Civil War up to 1956, but from that point Los Blancos became the dominant club in the country, winning 16 titles from 26 available. In that era, the caudillo General Franco used the success of the club as a vehicle to promote Francoist Spain to foreigners, whereas Athletic Bilbao – the largest club in the peripheral Basque region whose customs and language were repressed by the central government – won no titles in the same period, only finishing runners-up once.
The Basques and other regions regained more self-control in the years following Franco's death in 1975, symbolised by the joint display of the banned Basque flag by the captains of Athletic and local rivals Real Sociedad at a match between them a year later. However, many of the supporters of Athletic and Real Madrid, including their Ultras groups, still adhere to opposing views in terms of their national identity. In this regard, the relationship has similarities with the more famous and intense El Clásico rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona. On the field, a competitive edge was restored in the early 1980s when Athletic built a strong combative team that won the league twice, finishing ahead of Real Madrid by one point in 1983 with the top spot changing hands on the last day. In the following campaign, Athletic pipped Madrid by a single goal and better head-to-head record, but their league and cup double that year was the last time they lifted either trophy. During a hotly-contested fixture in Bilbao in March 1990, the referee awarded a dubious penalty to the away side and had to halt the game for 12 minutes after objects were thrown at the linesman and Madrid goalkeeper Paco Buyo.
The match finished as normal, but as a consequence the San Mamés stadium was closed for one match, with Athletic playing Real Valladolid at the Atotxa Stadium in San Sebastián. Entering the 21st century, other clubs offered significant challenges to Real Madrid, such as Atlético Madrid and Barcelona. Athletic Bilbao were not among this group, now hampered by their self-imposed restrictive Basque-only player policy in an age of worldwide recruitment, exemplified by Madrid's Galácticos who won seven further Champions Leagues between 1998 and 2018. Real Madrid have a global fanbase and are one of the world's richest, most decorated and best-attended clubs. Athletic have a much lower profile and have flirted with relegation, although they have ranked among the top half-dozen clubs in Spain for performance, matchday attendance and popularity. Despite the disparities in stature between the two clubs, the fixtures remain keenly fought due to their historical and cultural significance. There is no doubt who has the upper hand in recent meetings: in 2004–05 Athletic won home and away against Real Madrid, but since they won just two of their home matches in the dozen seasons up to 2016–17, took no points at all from the 12 matches at the Bernabéu with Real Madrid registering four or five goals on several occasions.
In April 2011, Real Madrid registered a 3–0 away win over Athletic despite resting several players for important upcoming games, in the same fixture in May 2012 they achieved the
London XI was a football team created to take part in the 1955–58 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. The competition began in 1955, the first tournament took three years to complete; the entrants were the major football team of each city. Like many cities taking part, London had several strong teams, it was decided to create a team for the tournament, using the best players from each London-based club. Membership of the team varied between matches, to the effect that as many as 54 players took part in the 8 matches of the campaign; the London XI, managed by Chelsea chairman Joe Mears, reached the final of the cup, after coming top of a group that included special XI teams from Basel and Frankfurt, beating Lausanne Sports. London lost 8–2 on aggregate over two legs to FC Barcelona; the London XI only competed in the 1955–58 tournament, all future Inter-Cities Fairs Cups involving a London team were contested by individual clubs from London instead. A unified London side appears to have competed in friendly matches earlier: there is passing mention of "London" having been defeated in a friendly match against Corinthian in a 1904 Times article.
Two other matches have been referenced – an "annual match" versus Birmingham on 3 October 1910 and a match versus Paris on 18 December 1910. Basel XI 0–5 London XI – 4 June 1955Team: Ron Reynolds, Peter Sillett, Jim Fotheringham, Stan Willemse, Ken Armstrong, Derek Saunders, Harry Hooper, Johnny Haynes, Cliff Holton, Eddie Firmani, Billy Kiernan. Substitute: Brian Nicholas, on for Saunders 37'. Scorers: Firmani 35', Holton 37', 43', 74', Hooper 81'. London XI 3–2 Frankfurt XI – 26 October 1955 at Wembley StadiumTeam: Ted Ditchburn, Peter Sillett, Stan Willemse, Danny Blanchflower, Charlie Hurley, Cyril Hammond, Vic Groves, Bobby Robson, Bedford Jezzard, Roy Bentley, Charlie Mitten. Scorers: Jezzard 46', 76', Robson 60'. London XI 1–0 Basel XI – 4 May 1956 at White Hart LaneTeam: Jack Kelsey, Peter Sillett, John Hewie, Danny Blanchflower, Stan Wicks, Ken Coote, Jim Lewis, Derek Tapscott, Cliff Holton, Bobby Cameron, George Robb. Scorers: Robb 87'. Frankfurt XI 1–0 London XI – 27 March 1957Team: Ron Reynolds, John Bond, Peter Sillett, Ken Armstrong, Malcolm Allison, Tony Marchi, Terry Medwin, Stuart Leary, David Herd, Johnny Haynes, Billy Kiernan.
Lausanne Sports 2–1 London XI – 16 September 1957Team: Ted Ditchburn, Stan Charlton, Dennis Evans, Brian Nicholas, Jim Fotheringham, Phil McKnight, Peter Berry, Geoff Truett, Les Stubbs, Phil Woosnam, Joe Haverty. Scorers: Haverty 70'. London XI 2–0 Lausanne Sports – 23 October 1957 at HighburyTeam: Jack Kelsey, Stan Charlton, Peter Sillett, Ken Coote, Bill Dodgin, Derek Saunders, Roy Dwight, Jimmy Greaves, Cliff Holton, Johnny Haynes, Billy Kiernan. Scorers: Greaves 10', Holton 76'. London won 3–2 on aggregate London XI 2–2 CF Barcelona – 5 March 1958 at Stamford BridgeTeam: Jack Kelsey, Peter Sillett, Jim Langley, Danny Blanchflower, Maurice Norman, Ken Coote, Vic Groves, Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Smith, Johnny Haynes, George Robb. Scorers: Greaves 10', Langley 88'. CF Barcelona 6–0 London XI – 1 May 1958Team: Jack Kelsey, George Wright, Noel Cantwell, Danny Blanchflower, Ken Brown, Dave Bowen, Terry Medwin, Vic Groves, Bobby Smith, Jimmy Bloomfield, Jim Lewis CF Barcelona won 8–2 on aggregate Key Ars – Arsenal.
Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia