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What Brings Together A Cucumber, Two Frogs, A Palm Tree, A Pair Of Parakeets And A Submarine Each Week?

Colourful mascots are part and parcel of Spanish football’s rich culture. Here’s a run through of some of the most memorable and endearing mascots in LaLiga today. Check it out!

SUPER PEPINO (CD LEGANES)

A cross between a superhero and a cucumber, Leganes’ Super Pepino mascot has won many admirers near and far after returning for the 2018/19 season after some years away.

The name has its origins in the nickname given to inhabitants of Leganes – a satellite city to the south of Madrid – who have long been known as ‘pepineros’ due to the area's history as a supplier of fruit and vegetables to the Spanish capital.

Super Pepino’s outsized personality has led to hi-jinks with players from his own team and the opposition, but he always manages to win everybody over with his very contagious smile.

BLAU AND GRANA (LEVANTE UD)

Levante became the first LaLiga club to have a pair of male and female mascots in 2016, with their names coming from the ‘blaugrana’ colours of their team’s home jerseys.

Chosen due to Levante’s nickname as ‘The Frogs’ (‘Los Granotas’), club sources have revealed that Blau has a strong personality, is a fighter, a non-conformist and a dreamer, while Grana is smart, intelligent, realistic and insightful.

Both never miss a game at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium, while also supporting local good causes and making regular appearances at club events. Levante club president Quico Catalan has said that the pair “show our younger supporters the values of the club, based in humility, respect, integration and overcoming challenges.”

ZORRO BABAZORRO (D. ALAVES)

The brainchild of renowned Vitoria artist and designer Inaki Gonzalez-Oribe, Alaves’ mascot Zorro Babazorro was born back to 1997 and owes his name to some clever wordplay.

That is because Alaves’ club nickname is ‘Los Babazorros,’ a combination of the Basque words for ‘bags of beans’ (a local delicacy), while ‘zorro’ means fox in Spanish.

A much-loved figure around Alaves’ Mendizorroza stadium, Babazorro likes to get as close to the action as possible and usually joins in the team photo with the players pre-game.

PALMERÍN (REAL BETIS)

Chosen by a vote of Real Betis fans in the Andalusian club’s centenary year of 2006, Palmerín is one of LaLiga’s most established and most loved mascots.

A larger than life symbol of ‘Beticismo,’ Palmerin’s name and form come the historic palm-tree lined Avenida de la Palmera which runs from Seville city centre to the club’s Estadio Benito Villamarin home.

An ever-present figure at games of Betis’ men’s and women’s’ team, Palmerin has been known to join in goal celebrations with the players, while he also attends official club events and visits younger verdiblanco fans at local hospitals.

PERICO AND PERICA (RCD ESPANYOL)

The 2017/18 season saw an important new signing at Espanyol, where a new female parakeet Perica joined long-time fans favourite Perico to help build the atmosphere before games.

Espanyol fans have long been known as los periquitos with the name coming from the parakeet birds which lived in the trees around the Estadio de Sarria, the team’s home stadium from 1923 to 1997.

Known for their innovative dance-moves along the sidelines at their team's current RCDE Stadium, Perico and Perica also regularly get involved in pre-game ceremonies recognising local celebrities and achievers in other sports.

RAT PENAT (VALENCIA CF)

Slightly confusingly for English speakers, Valencia’s bat mascot is called ‘Rat Penat’ due to ‘bats’ being called ‘rats’ in the local language.

Since as far back as the 13th century, a bat – known as a ‘murcielago’ in Spanish – has been included in the heraldic crest of the city of Valencia, due to a legendary role played by the nocturnal mammal in a medieval battle for control of the city. Since the club was formed in 1919, the bat has also featured on its crest in tribute.

These days Rat Penat is a fixture at Mestalla, giving his all to support the team whatever time the game kicks off.

GROGUET (VILLARREAL CF)

Villarreal’s club mascot Groguet literally represents the LaLiga club’s Beatles-inspired Yellow Submarine nickname, right up to the periscope coming out of the top of its head.

First seen back in 2001, 12-year-old local fan Javier Fuster Almela won a naming contest with his suggestion of Groguet, ‘yellow’ in the local dialect. Since then Groguet has never missed a game at the Estadio de la Ceramica, supporting his team through good times and bad, while also becoming a well-known personality in the local media.

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