Where is Soccer Most Popular? Top 10 Countries

Association Football is the official name of a sport that is called soccer in 9 countries and football in the vast majority of other countries.

Just a few countries call the sport something completely else, such as “Calcio” in Italy. This translates to “kick,” a reference to how the most popular sport in the world is played.

In Europe and South America, the beautiful game is borderline religious. People love to watch their favorite clubs play and travel all across the continent for it.

The game is also gaining in popularity in the United States, although we can already mention that the US didn’t make this list because as of now, American football, basketball, and baseball are still more popular.

So where is soccer most popular?

Below you will find the top 10 countries where the game is passionately watched and played by a large number of people.

10. Belgium

Belgium has a rich tradition when it comes to football. The first football club in the country was Royal Antwerp F.C. which was established by English students in the port city in 1880.

The Belgian national team has had a great run lately, reaching third place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the highest place ever. Several world-class players have emerged in the past decades

Although many Belgians are passionate about cycling as well, football is still by far the most popular sport in the country and is watched by millions every week.

Where is soccer most popular Belgian football fans
Belgian fans / Wiki Commons

9. Spain

The popularity of football in Spain is reflected by the fact that two of the world’s biggest football clubs play in La Liga, the top flight of Spanish football.

FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are two clubs that have fans all around the world. They play in Camp Nou and the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium respectively, the two biggest stadiums in Spain.

El Clásico is played between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid and life in Spain completely comes to a halt then. This emphasizes the level of popularity of the game in the country.

Spanish fans
Spanish fans / Klearchos Kapoutsis / Wiki Commons

8. Italy

Just like Spain, Italy has a rich tradition when it comes to football. It’s home to some of the most successful clubs in Europe such as Juventus FC and both clubs from Milan, Inter, and A.C. Milan.

San Siro Stadium in Milan and the Stadio Olimpico in Rome are some of the most amazing arenas in Europe and the biggest stadiums in Italy.

The Italian people’s passion for every aspect of life is reflected in their passion for their favorite football club. The support in Italian stadiums is some of the best in the world.

Italian fans
Italian fans / Oscar Federico Bodini / Wiki Commons

7. the Netherlands

The Netherlands has produced some of the best players in history, including the late Johan Cruyff (1947-2016), Marco van Basten, and Dennis Bergkamp, to name just a few.

Whenever you see a stadium in which some of the stands are completely covered in orange fans, you can rest assured that a game of “Oranje” is being played.

Ajax, Feyenoord, and PSV are the biggest clubs in the country and have very loyal supporters. Football is the country’s most popular sport and is loyally watched every single week.

Dutch fans
Dutch fans / Dmitriy Neymyrok / Wiki Commons

6. France

France has one of the most successful national teams in recent history, being winners of World and European cups in the past decades. That’s because football is immensely popular in the country.

This popularity has only increased since Qatari investors took over the French football club Paris Saint-Germain in the year 2011. Their money has attracted numerous world-class players recently.

Neymar and Lionel Messi are just a few of the incredible names that caùe to play in France. This further strengthened the level of popularity of the sport in the country, filling all stadiums in France whenever they play.

French supporters
French fans / Londenp / Wiki Commons

5. Nigeria

If there’s one country in Africa where football is just as passionately watched than in Europe or South America, then it’s definitely Nigeria.

Football was introduced to the country by the English in the early 20th century and it has become the national sport in the most populous country of Africa.

They have a successful national team, mainly because the best Nigerian players compete in the best European leagues, most notably the Premier League in England.

Nigerian fans
Nigerian fans / Wiki Commons

4. Argentina

We already mentioned the word passion a couple of times. When it comes to supporting their favorite football club, Argentinians manage to take this word to a completely new level.

The local competition is of a decent level compared to European competitions and that’s mainly because of the incredible atmosphere in the stadiums which elevates the level of players.

The country is also notable for producing two of the greatest players in football history, if not the best. Of course, we talk about Diego Armando Maradona and Lionel Messi.

Argentinian fans
Argentinian fans / Jimmy Baikovicius / Wiki Commons

3. Germany

Germany is another country that has an extensive history of winning trophies. This includes both world cups and European cups won by the national team, as well as the successes of club teams.

The stadiums in Germany are renowned for having the highest attendance rate of any country in Europe. Yes, German fans are some of the most loyal in the world.

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are some of the most successful clubs in Europe in the past decades. Thye have elevated the level of the Bundesliga to one of the best on the planet.

German Fans
German fans / Arne Müseler / Wiki Commons

2. England

This list can’t be complete without the country that invented the game, England. The Premier League is the most prestigious football league and features some of the best players from all around the world.

The Premier League is also the oldest professional football league competition in the world and the most-watched one as well. Manchester United at Old Trafford and Liverpool FC at Anfield are legendary football clubs and stadiums in England.

The level of popularity of the game is reflected in the sheer number of football clubs, extending up to 10 divisions below the actual English football league system. Wembley Stadium is one of the most historic biggest stadiums in the world.

English fans at Wembley
English fans at Wembley / Matt Churchill / Wiki Commons

1. Brazil

If there’s one place in the world where football is played and watched by just about every inhabitant, then it’s Brazil. You will never see a public space where people aren’t playing with the ball.

This has also resulted in Brazil having one of the most successful national teams in history. Pelé, Romario, Ronaldo, and Ronaldinho, are just some of the world-class players that the country has produced.

Like Wembley Stadium in London, Brazil is also home to one of the most historic stadiums in the world called the Maracaña Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. It’s one of the multiple amazing stadiums in Brazil.

Brazil fans
Brazilian fans / Wiki Commons