Football, otherwise known as “soccer” in most places is probably one of the most – if not THE most – popular sport in the world today. With an estimated number of fans exceeding more than 3.5 billion people, literally half of the world loves this game!
It has more followers than Christianity or Islam and it can even be considered as a religion, especially the way how the fans venerate the sport, the athletes and their respective teams.
Football is the only sport in the world that has the power to shut down entire cities and nations just so fans can watch a single match event.
A similar event also happened in boxing but it only occurred in the Philippines and only when 8-division world boxing champion, Manny Pacquiao was fighting.
In fact, if you ask any football lover why they love the game so much, you’ll probably be disappointed with their response because they also don’t exactly know why they’re so enthusiastic about this sport.
Some fans say the feeling they would get every time they watch a football game is like a “spur of the moment” event, which is spontaneous but one that amplifies euphoria.
In this article, we will talk about the popularity of the sport and the astounding, yet perplexing nature of its fame.
Here are some reasons why football is famous all over the world:
Passion Surrounding the Sport
Whether you’re in Ethiopia, France, Argentina, or anywhere else in the world – one thing about soccer remains the same.
And that is – passion! All football fans no matter where they’re from are deeply passionate about their clubs, in fact, if left unchecked; this passion often causes riots and chaos during or after a match.
Also this burning passion for the sport is not only seen in stadiums but in individual homes as well as the pitch during matchday!
There are no empty football stadiums when the game is on every weekend, they are all jam-packed with rabid fans shouting and cheering for their favorite teams and players.
There is no other sport in the world that can rival this passion fans display for a soccer match.
The hype among fans is stirred up so well that it builds up in the week leading up to each match that makes even the authorities concerned.
Rivalry Matches in Football
The passion for football is so great that it makes teams of professional athletes become bitter rivals, it raises the stakes in the game and it sort of makes things a bit personal.
This rivalry can be clearly observed when two bitter rivals face off against each other and it can make the crowd rowdy.
When the sports organizers are aware that 2 rival clubs will face off in the field, they make the game extra special and unique from those typical crosstown derby matches.
The Manchester United vs. Liverpool matches are perfect examples of rival soccer clubs in English football.
Rivalries can arise any time at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) like the 2022 championship game between Senegal and Algeria.
These rivalries increases fan support by as high as 40% at a time, thereby boosting ticket and related merchandise sales.
The players on either football clubs are also spurred on by their fans to give 300% than their normal performance in order to entertain the crowd.
No Age Limit
Most professional sports league in the world require their players to be at least of legal age (18 years old) in order to participate.
But in world football, teenagers below 18 years old can be allowed to play in professional football clubs, with the condition that they are physically fit to play the game.
The decision entirely depends on the coach of the club where the younglings have applied for membership.
At the discretion of the coach, the up-and-coming player will be thrown out on the pitch.
Young Egyptian-descent Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan (18) and Nigerian-born Kenneth Omeruo (19) are examples of young soccer prodigies.
In the United States you’ll have a difficult time to find historic football stadiums built prior to the 20th century.
This is not the case in Europe, South America and Africa, however.
The Alexandria Stadium in Egypt was built in 1929, while the Anfield, Old Trafford, Camp Nou, Maracana, Azteca, and the Bernabeu stadiums have been around for more than half a century now and are well-known among soccer fans.
Fans do not forget the teams and matches that happened in these stadiums, in fact, it is the opposite and they either remember it by heart or keep notes of their favorite teams that have played in them.
I wonder how many basketball fans still remember or even reminisce the 1997 NBA championship game today.
Relegation is a unique aspect in world football and the way it works, in a nutshell, is that it gives all teams a chance at glory.
Lower division teams can get a shot at the Premier League if they keep winning in their matches, while the 3 worst clubs from the Level 2 division are sent down to the division below them.
It can be complicated to understand this sometimes, but is quite beneficial to some soccer clubs nevertheless.
Unlike teams in American sports that are rewarded in a high-draft pick, in world football almost every team is offered a fair chance to be in the Premier League.
In the world of football, there are other ways to enjoy success than just being in the top of the European League of the Confederation of African Football.
Getting promoted to the top flight means everything to a club.
This is because of the financial gains and fan recognition that the team gets is almost equal to being the league’s champion.
While there may be a variety of sports that can be played in any given space, some of the materials needed to play them (i.e. basketball ring, tennis court, etc.) might cause you to spend some money just to play the game.
This is not the case when it comes to football, because you can make a football and a goal with household materials – and voila! You now have a local football game among your friends.
Due to this fact, football is becoming more and more popular over the years.
In some cases, you don’t even need to use a football in order to pay the sport.
People, especially young and creative children figure out a way to make soda cans, juice bottles, or even “tetra-packs” into a football, play the game and still have lots of fun!
Remember, you are only limited by your imagination when it comes to playing soccer.
Easy Game Setup
Football is one of the few sports that is suited to be played indoors or outdoors.
As long as you have a space large enough to accommodate 2 – 6 people and allow them to move around to hustle the football, then that’s good enough for you and your friends to enjoy.
The easy way to setup the game makes it widely popular the world over.
The transfer of madness window is another unique tradition in the world of football and it only happens twice a year.
In contrast, sports athletes in the United States use free agents to negotiate their services with sports teams, and they usually go with the highest bidder.
In the world of soccer, however, the more lucrative deal is the madness transfer, where clubs pay a hefty amount for a certain player that they want to include in their roster.
The player also gets compensated plus other benefits and perks for the trade-off. Note, there are also free agents in football but they do not hold as much sway among the football clubs as the clubs themselves.
Football has a rich history.
In fact, it is one of the earliest sports created in the world!
According to FIFA, during the Iron Age (around 200 B.C.) the Celts and the Druids had ball sports resembling football.
The sport has evolved over the centuries and 2,000 years later in 1857, Sheffield F.C created the first soccer team in England.
The oldest soccer competition recorded was back in 1871, which was called the FA Cup and was played in England.
The first official international match was between England and Scotland that happened on November 30, 1872.
Meanwhile, the inaugural World Cup was held in Uruguay during the 1930s and football’s legacy was established ever since.
There is Football Leagues All over the World
Due to America’s influence on almost everything that’s related to, finances, culture and sports; the nations seem to live under her shadow, except in football.
There is almost at least 1 top-tier football league in every continent in the world. From Europe to Asia, the Middle East and Africa major football leagues are heavily featured in the media.
Nearly every country has their own national football team to represent them in the regional or international soccer competition.
Strong fan support also keeps the games coming along throughout the year.
As a result multiple soccer clubs compete across national borders and the fans are treated with some of the most memorable matches the world has ever seen!
The Subtle Greatness of Barcelona
American media lust creeps all over the sports world of that country, thus ensuring athletes who perform well in their respective games becomes a superstar celebrity overnight.
Barcelona players, who are arguably some of the best in the world, do not have that luxury. Or more accurately, they are camera shy.
They simply loath the idea of self-promotion like the athletes do in the United States, though it’s hardly their fault.
Barcelona soccer players showcase their abilities on the pitch and not in media circus.
Few football stars from Barcelona such as Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta do indulge themselves with the perks that come with fame, but you’ll rarely see other players do extravagant stuff like this.
In America fans can easily recognize sports superstars like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Alex Rodriguez when they see them in public.
Football superstars usually try to keep a low profile when they’re out in public, because the fans get crazy when they meet them.
The Beautiful Game
It’s not hard to admit that the visual aesthetics of football is very pleasing to the eyes indeed!
For this reason, it is called “The Beautiful Game.”
Some of the best things about the sport include:
- The grass-covered and well-groomed pitch (field)
- The vibrant soccer teams’ uniforms
- The checked football
- The brightly colored goal posts
- The referee’s uniform
- The green and white contrast of the pitch and lines
- The cheerleaders
- The crowds in the bleachers
Football is highly competitive and not just at the professional level, but on personal level as well.
Well, to be fair, it is the fans that take it way too personal, which can cause trouble for a city or country depending on the situation.
Usually the fans of the losing team starts the aggression, but in rare cases, fans of the winning team who couldn’t control their joy go about destroying property and at times engage in physical fights with fans of the opposing team, or just some ordinary folks.
The energizing atmosphere during games and rapid development in the game, where one team who has been winning in the first half of the game suddenly and inexplicably gets destroyed by the rival team in the second half, will definitely make the fans angry.
Betting whether online or between people also raises the competiveness of the game and the risk for causing trouble.
It is in our nature to get drawn into competitive environments, especially while watching sports.
Traditionalists Bans New Technology
Major football leagues almost unanimously agree to not allow new technology into the sport, as it is considered a bad luck.
Only football has no replay system. It highlights their humility and makes the sport unique compared to other sports.
Suggestions have been made in FIFA and other football sports leagues to include goal-line technology to keep up with the times, but have been denied by traditionalists and puritans.
The only replay you will see is on TV or your DVR.
The Best Athlete in the World Plays in the Sport
No contest, Lionel Messi is the best athlete in the world in our generation.
Mesi belongs to Team FC Barcelona in La Liga (Spain) and is said to be a genius in the sport.
His awards and accolades include:
- 3 Ballon d’Or trophies
- 5 La Liga titles
- 3 UEFA Champions League titles
The Argentinian sports celebrity can be compared to the Filipino boxing champ, Pacquiao when it comes to athletics prowess.
But then again it is not their ethnicity that defines them, but instead their discipline, courage and determination to win.
The World Cup Is the Most Popular Tournament in the World
More than two-thirds of the people in the world know what the words “World Cup” means and that is a fact!
Maybe it is spelled or said in different tongues, but everyone knows it’s the world event for football.
The reason why it’s so popular is because it showcases the best talents that come from all walks of life in different nations of the world.
In other words, the athletes represent the people (their fans) in some way or another.
Leonel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar da Silva Santos are among the top contenders that fight not only for pride but for the crowds’ favor.
The World Cup is what is Superbowl in America.