Where Is Soccer Most Popular?

where i s soccer most popular

There is no debate which sport is the most popular sport on the planet, soccer wins that by miles! Given the fact that it has around 4 billion fans worldwide, that is a huge chunk of the population who swear they love the sport.

Granted, we all call it different things, from soccer, to football, to futbol and likely many other things in different parts of the world. 

But it all suggests the same sport; two opposing teams kicking an air-filled-ball across as vast area with hopes of getting it into the goal and then cheering really loudly!

China has the largest soccer fanbase, with over 180 million fans.

 *It might be a good time to mention that if you want to make a career out of soccer, you have options, and with such a huge fanbase China seems like a good one to consider!*

Could we just end the post here, then? 

Q: Where is soccer most popular? A: China

Well, we could if we were going solely by numbers, but there is so much more to this question, so let’s look at some other countries and their overall attitude towards the sport as this will show us a lot more.

Portugal

Portugal has had a force in European football on the club and national levels for more than two decades. The country has a strong national team, making soccer a popular and well-doing sport in the country. 

According to Soccer Blade, soccer’s unique high position and interest is because of the Euro 2016 triumph. The country also, in 2019, won the first-ever UEFA Nations League Cup.

Portugal has produced several top-notch soccer players globally, including;

  • Luis Figo
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Eusebio

Other world-class players originating from Portugal are:

  • Rui Costa
  • Mario Coluna

The top club league in Portugal is Primeira Liga. The country has a current FIFA ranking of four. It has two World Cup semifinal appearances in soccer and a 2004 Euro Cup runner-up.

Germany 

Germany has a current FIFA ranking of one, according to the definitive dose. It has won four World Cups and made 12 semifinal appearances over the years.

Soccer is a popular sport in Germany because of its top club league known as Bundesliga. The country has also won three Euro Cups and one Olympic gold medal, explaining why soccer is popular.

Germany has produced some of the greatest players of all time, such as;

  • Lothar Matthaus
  • Paul Breitner
  • Franz Beckenbauer
  • Gunter Netzer

Other greatest players originating from Germany include;

  • Philip Lahm
  • Oliver Kahn
  • Sepp Maier
  • Andreas Brehme
  • Miroslav Klose.

Russia

Soccer has long been a popular sport in Russia. The 2018 World Cup played a significant role in making soccer more popular in the country.

Another thing that encourages the popularity of soccer in Russia is the training facilities in the country, development of stadia, and soccer-related industries.

According to Soccerblade, the Russian population, especially men, has become more interested in soccer after hosting the 2018 World Cup.

Italy

 You cannot talk about soccer and fail to mention Italy. The country has a current FIFA ranking of 20. According to Wikipedia, Italy has one Olympic gold media and one Euro Cup.

The country has also played in the World Cup, won four times, and made eight semifinal appearances. Serie A is Italy’s top club league.

Some of Italy’s greatest players include:

  • Giacinto Facchetti
  • Roberto Baggio
  • Valentino Mazzola
  • Franco Baresi
  • Mario Balotelli (Italian National)

Argentina

Argentina is one of the countries where soccer is popular, thanks to its top club league, the Argentine Primera Division. The country has a current FIFA ranking of five.

It has won two World Cups and five semifinal appearances. Argentina also boasts of 14 Copa Americas, one Confederation, and two Olympic gold medals.

Some greatest soccer players in Argentina include:

  • Omar Sivori
  • Diego Maradona
  • Alfredo Di Stefano
  • Lionel Messi

The United Kingdom

The UK is where soccer, as we know it, began. Termed “football”, it is the countries most popular sport with no immediate competitors.

Despite their not-so-great win records, you will never find a tournament where England does not perform. Soccer is like a religion to many Brits, and this will not be changing any time soon!

The domestic leagues across the UK only continue to grow have never been bigger. Most notably of these is The Premier League, which is England’s highest division of professional soccer.

According to Football-Stadiums, The Premier League is one of the richest and most-watched leagues in the world, being broadcast to over 200 regions.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE.)

UAE is known to be a dormant player in the soccer world. The United Arab Emirates has made a single World Cup appearance, though it didn’t win and little success as an international side. Companies and the local government have lately invested in soccer.

The United Arab Emirates is the home to Emirates and Etihad airlines, which are primary sponsors in European soccer. Sheikh is a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family and City Football Group owner, which administrates soccer franchises.

United Arab Emirates football (soccer ball)

The primary reason why soccer is common in UAE is its sponsorship of soccer teams in the world and the City Football Group that owns Manchester City.

Additionally, if we were going by “interest” in the sport alone, The United Arab Emirates would win that contest, with over 80% of people surveyed saying they are interested in soccer.

This information comes from a 2017 Nielsen Sports DNA report where a survey was conducted across 30 markets. 

See results below:

MarketPercentage of population “interested”
or “very interested” in football
1United Arab Emirates80%
2Thailand78%
3Chile75%
4Portugal75%
5Turkey75%
6Mexico73%
7Spain70%
8South Africa70%
9Italy67%
10Poland67%
11South Korea67%
12Malaysia65%
13Brazil60%
14Germany60%
15Hungary54%
16Russia52%
17U.K.51%
18France50%
19Czech Republic 50%
20Singapore49%

Soccer VS. Basketball

According to the 2018 World Football Report, in a survey of various markets over The Americas, Europe, Asia, and The Middle East, Soccer remained at the top of the chart, suggesting that over 40% of participants were “interested” or “very interested” in soccer.

Likewise, the 2017 report, which resulted in 43% interested participants, equaled around 736 million people overall. Basketball was a close runner-up, having 36% of participants’ interest, which equated to 626 million—followed by Track & Field (Athletics) with around 27%.

Women Love Soccer, Too!

Although soccer seems to be a male-dominated industry, soccer is not only love (or played) by males. Soccer is the most popular sport amongst female fans worldwide, also. 

Data from the survey also suggests that 31% of female participants were interested in the sport across the same markets, with basketball as a runner-up yet again, capturing 28% interest from female participants.

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