86 Interesting Facts About Soccer

Last updated on June 24th, 2023

64. The largest stadium used for soccer in the world is the Rungrado 1st of May stadium in North Korea. Located on Rungrad Island in Pyongyang, it holds about 114,000 people for soccer, with a capacity of around 150,000 for other events.

65. Only eight countries have won the World Cup: Uruguay, France, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Argentina, England, and Spain. Every winning country (and runner-up) is located in Europe or South America. 

66. 56 seconds – that’s how long it took Uruguayan player Jose Batista to be sent off the field as his team faced Scotland at the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Batista holds the record for the earlier send-off.

67. Roger Milla, a football player from Cameroon, holds the title of being the oldest player to score a goal in the FIFA World Cup in 1990. Milla was 42 years old at the time.

68. The 1994 FIFA World Cup, hosted in the USA, had an incredible 3,587,538 spectators, and an average of 68,991 fans attending each game. This record still stands today. Diana Ross made quite the blunder when she performed at the 1994 opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup hosted by the United States. After a long song and dance, the legendary singer brought some comic relief to the many spectators as she missed the penalty shot.

FIFA World Cup History

Number of Titles WonTeam Year
5Brazil1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002
4Italy1934, 1938, 1982, 2006
4Germany1954, 1974, 1990, 2014
2Uruguay1930, 1950
3Argentina1978, 1986, 2022
2France1998, 2018
Table last updated12/06/2023

69. The name “soccer” is used mostly in the United States for association football. The name comes from the slang abbreviation of “association.”

70. The game of basketball was created by using a soccer ball and a peach basket to throw the ball into.

multiple soccer balls. interesting facts about Soccer.
Soccer balls. Interesting facts about Soccer. Image credit – Jordan Arenas

71. Four out of every five soccer balls are manufactured in Pakistan.

72. Did you know that until 1991, soccer was an illegal sport in Mississippi?

73. The Football Association penned the first official rules in 1863. Called “The Rules of Football”, the rules were framed by representatives of eleven different clubs that gathered to agree on common rules that would be accepted across the country. 

74. The spherical shape of a soccer ball is an optical illusion created by the pattern; they are slightly oval. The most goals scored in soccer by a goalkeeper is Rogério Ceni playing for São Paulo Futebol Clube, in Brazil. 

75. The quickest substitute from a game’s start was Alessandro Nesta from Italy who was replaced in just under 4 minutes by Giuseppe Bergomi in the 1998 FIFA game against Austria.

Soccer huddle
Photo © Mary Katherine Wynn

76. The 2002 FIFA World Cup was played in not one but two countries, as South Korea and Japan hosted the event that year. The fastest FIFA World Cup goal happened only 11 seconds into the game between Turkey and South Korea in 2002 when Turkish player Hakan Sukur scored the first goal.

77. The 2006 FIFA World Cup was watched by a whopping 26.29 billion people. The final match was viewed by seven and a half billion people, which equates to a ninth of the world’s population.

78. The national sport of Canada is soccer.

79. Soccer is one of the most lucrative sports in the world.

80. Famous Brazilian footballer Manoel Francisco dos Santos was born with several birth defects, including a deformed spine and a shorter right leg. At the time of his birth, his right leg was shorter by 6 centimeters than his left leg.

81. Brazil has hosted the world cup twice and they are the only country to have won five times. Interestingly, they did not win the cup when they hosted it. However, they are also the only country to have attended every single cup.

82. Ronaldo was one of the four men to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award thrice (or more) alongside Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

83. New Zealand makes history at the 2010 FIFA World Cup as they are the only team to remain unbeaten as they drew in all three of their stage games. Though they did not win the trophy, their record speaks for itself. The Dutch football team received no less than nine yellow cards in their match against Spain. Spain would win the game with a final score of 1 – 0 over the Netherlands team.

84. Algeria became the first African football team to score four goals in a FIFA World Cup game as they took on South Korea at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. They would dominate the game with a final score of 4 – 2.

85. Saudi-Arabian player Essam El Hadary becomes the oldest player to play in the FIFA World Cup as his team played in the 2018 FIFA World Cup when Essam was 45 years old.

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Countdown Clock
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Countdown Clock, in Doha, Qatar. Photo © Mohamed Abdelrazek

86. The 2022 FIFA World Cup boasted a record-breaking number of goals, with 172 goals scored over a total of 64 games. Previous records were set in 1998 and 2014. Brazil is the only country in the world to play in every FIFA World Cup from 1930 to 2022.

Most goals scored all time

Player nameCountryGoals scoredMatched playedYears
Cristiano RonaldoPortugal83711662001–present
Lionel MessiArgentina80610272003–present
Josef BicanCzech Republic8055301928–1955
Ferenck PuscasHungary7467541943–1966
Gerd MullerGermany 7357931962–1981
Ferenc DeakHungary5761940–1957
Uwe SeelerGermany5751954–1999
Tulio MaravilhaBrazil5751988–2019
Table last updatedJune 12, 2023

Interesting facts about famous soccer players

1. Lionel Messi

We all know Lionel Messi as one of the greatest soccer players of our time. Here’s an interesting fact; it is common to see Messi point to the sky when he scores a goal. Most people think he is thanking God. However, this gesture is for his late grandmother Celia. He shared a special bond with his grandmother, and she was the one who took her to Rosario training when he was a young boy.

Lionel Messi. facts about soccer
Lionel Messi. Image via shutterstock/Christian Bertrand

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Here’s something you would find interesting. Cristiano Ronaldo is a player who displays speed, power, and jumping power. So how high can Ronaldo jump? His G-force power that he uses to jump is equal to that of a cheetah. Perhaps he is the only soccer player who can claim to share a record with a cheetah.

cristiano ronaldo. soccer facts
Cristiano Ronaldo. Amazing soccer facts. Image via shutterstock/Javier Buckenmeyer

Ronaldo’s stardom at the football field made him one of the most recognized names in the world and one of the highest-paid athletes. This superstar also adds to his wealth by being a marketing diamond. He’s endorsing some of the top brands on his Instagram account that has over 200 million followers. He makes more from his Instagram than his Juve salary!

3. Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane is a big name in a world of soccer, and every fan knows about him. He earns his fame due to his tremendous contributions as a soccer player for his team. Here’s one thing you may not know about him. Zidane is one of the most expensive footballers that Real Madrid had on their side. He made a whopping €77.5 million as his transfer fee and made a world record at that time as one of the most expensive footballers.

Emirates A380 aircraft with Real Madrid players. facts about Soccer.
Emirates A 380 aircraft with Real Madrid players. Image credit – Thomas Naas. Interesting facts about soccer.

4. Johan Cruyff

The legendary footballer was at a time, more inclined towards baseball. Johan Cruyff was a gifted baseball player in his early teens and was one of the best pitchers and a catcher behind the plate at Ajax’s academy. Finally, he decided to pursue soccer instead of going further in baseball.

5. Alfredo Di Stéfano

He was twice named European Footballer of the Year (1957, 1959). Di Stéfano is another legendary footballer. Here’s one fact that shows how well-respected this athlete was in his days. In 1989, he was the first football player in history to receive the Super Ballon d’Or. In 2004, Alfredo Di Stéfano took the most votes to become the fourth greatest football player.

6. Franz Beckenbauer

A legendary name in soccer, Franz Beckenbauer was one of the best attacking defensive players. Captained West Germany, and won his country 50 matches, he won European Player of the Year twice.

Diego Armando Maradona at Olympic stadium. facts about soccer
Diego Armando Maradona at Olympic stadium in Rome 12-10-2014. Photo © Marco Iacobucci

7. Diego Maradona

Fans of Diego Maradona have nothing but praise for this legend. However, he has had his issues both on the field and outside. While his accolades have earned him the right name in sports, he also shares some not-so-proud moments. He is the only soccer player in the world, who had 23 fouls in a single match against Italy in 1982. These are the most fouls we have had in any one game to this day.

8. Ronaldinho

The Brazilian legend, Ronaldinho, is a name that needs no introduction. Today, people who see him as a legend may not know that this great footballer’s destiny was always to rise as one of the best soccer players in the world. Here’s one fact that many may not know. At a young age of 13, Ronaldinho scored all 23 goals in his local youth league, a feat that got him plenty of attention from the media.

Ronaldinho. Image credit – Filipe Fortes. Facts about soccer.

9. Luka Modric

He went to Real Madrid and made over £33 million. He also won the award for the ‘Best Midfielder’ in 2016. In 2018, he was the best player and won the Golden Ball award for the best player in the tournament.

While people know him for his fame and accolades, many do not believe that as a young child, Luka Modric had to live through some horrific times. Local Croatian Serb rebels captured his hometown and brutally murdered his grandfather. He had several other horrifying experiences during this capture, but he came out triumphant with a strong mentality that later helped him in his football career.

10. Kaka

He was born in Brazil in 1982 as Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite. But he got his fame as a footballer and is better known as “Kaka.” He is one of the most celebrated athletes who played for Italian club AC Milan.

Many people who know him as Kaka have no idea about the origin of the name. His brother had trouble calling Ricardo by his name, so he started calling him Kaka. Little did the brother know that the name would become one of the most recognized names in soccer.

Brazilian soccer player Neymar Jr.
Photo © Brphoto

11. Neymar

Neymar, the Brazilian sensation, is a treat to watch as he is famous for his magical dribbling ability that you will see during his soccer matches. The best young player in 2009 made a lot of money in his career, and his playful nature makes many people think that he has had a good life. In reality, Neymar has been a positive person despite the hardship his family faced in raising him. He grew up in a low-income family where his father was working three jobs, and his mother was working as a cook to make ends meet. However, the family always had a positive attitude that helped Neymar build his career as one of the most successful footballers.

12. Gerd Müller

The greatest goal scorers of all time, Gerd Müller, played for Germany. Here’s one interesting fact that many may find intriguing. He has one of the highest records for scoring for his national team, where he scored 68 times in his 62 matches.

13. Eusebio

Winning the European Footballer of the Year in 1965, Eusebio is one of Europe’s leading scorers. Interestingly, this player who played for Portugal for a record 64 times is not Portuguese, and today we remember him as one of the first great African footballers who was born in the town of Maputo in Mozambique in 1942.

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