Football is one of the world’s most popular games and is played in over 200 countries.
FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) governs the sport with the World Cup the biggest sporting event for national sides.
The last men’s World Cup was won by France who beat Croatia in 2018 while the United State’s won the women’s edition in 2019 by defeating the Netherlands.
Brazil has won the most number of men’s World Cup with five to their name while the United States is the most successful women’s team having lifted the trophy four times.
Each continent has its own governing body which keeps an eye on the footballing activity in their respective zones.
CONCACAF, AFC, UEFA and CONMEBOL are some of the biggest continental footballing bodies and they plan club and international competitions for their respective members.
The Copa America and UEFA Euro competitions are huge for South America and Europe, respectively while the Copa Libertadores and the Champions League are the top club competitions for the countries.
Europe has the most competitive and richest leagues in the world with the Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy), Bundesliga (Germany) and Ligue 1 (France) considered as the top five.
Most of the best players in the world play in the five leagues, however, clubs outside these competitions have also lifted the Champions League in the past.
There are other competitions which feature clubs from other countries such as the Europa League or the AFC Champions League, however, they pale in comparison to the Libertadores and the UEFA Champions League.
The Dutch, Portuguese, Brazilian, Argentine and Mexican leagues are also extremely popular as they have seen several stars come through the ranks.
Legends of the game
Football has been graced by incredible talent across the years with Pele, Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Gerd Muller and Alfredo di Stefano wowing fans for club and country.
Every decade seems to have had fantastic players that get people talking. From Ronaldo Nazario to Steven Gerrard, Paolo Maldini to Lothar Matthaus, George Best to Zinedine Zidane, there have been several stars that have left a mark in the game.
We have been witness to one of the greatest rivalries in football too with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi vying to be the top player in the world.
Pele and Maradona are considered as the two greatest players to have graced the game but Messi and Ronaldo are close to them.
Messi has played his entire career for Barcelona and Argentina while Portugal’s Ronaldo has featured for top clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.
The next batch of superstars are ready to stake their claim to the throne with Kylian Mbappe, Jadon Sancho and Joao Felix starring for their respective clubs and countries, and there will be more names cropping in the coming years.
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