Soccer is one of the world’s most loved sports. Sports like cricket, rugby and handball are popular in certain countries but are completely unheard of in others. However, from north to south, east to west, you can be sure that everyone knows how to play soccer (or football as it’s known as outside of the US). Soccer fans get to see the FIFA World Cup every four years, and can watch games on TV year-round from the Champions League, English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga and other great leagues. But for fans who want to take their soccer fandom to another level, it doesn’t get much better than visiting a city and seeing a few live games at the home stadiums of world-famous teams.
If you’re serious about the sport, then you should visit some of these soccer-obsessed cities.
Liverpool—not just the home of British band ‘The Beatles’—boasts two hugely popular teams in the EPL. Liverpool FC is arguably more well-known: winners of the 2019 Champions League trophy in addition to numerous league titles, UEFA cups, and FA cups. The other Liverpool team is Everton, but despite not having as many trophies as its city rival, it still has a die-hard following and consistently ranks in the EPL top 10 after the season ends.
The capital of England has a lot of history, culture, and tourist attractions to visit, but you might only care about the many famous London-based soccer teams on your trip. Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, West Ham, and Crystal Palace are among those teams known the world over for their top-tier players, managers, and impressive stadiums.
If you’re going to Madrid, you’re likely to be there to see a Real Madrid CF game. Although the team recently lost the insanely talented Ronaldo to Juventus, Real Madrid still has many talented soccer stars on its roster, including Eden Hazard, Casemiro, Luka Modric, and Gareth Bale. If you have time (as well as soaking up some sun and samples some tapas), then you should also check out a game from another great Madrid team in La Liga, Atletico Madrid.
As you’re already in Spain, then it would be mad not to take a cheap European flight to Barcelona from Madrid—you’ll be able to find a good deal before you fly. There’s no doubt that La Rambla, La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and Casa Batllo are all well-worth a look while you’re in Barcelona, but you’ll definitely have to catch a game in Camp Nou and witness the incredible talents of star player, Messi.
Rio de Janeiro
Everyone knows how obsessed Brazil is with soccer, so it would be a shame not to enjoy a game with the amazing fans in Rio de Janeiro! Botafogo is probably the best and most popular team in Rio, but what you’ll really end up enjoying is the passion that Brazilians bring to each game. You’ll be chanting, shouting, and singing along in no time!
Milan is famous for its fashion, but many other people know this great city for its two famous soccer teams: Inter Milan and AC Milan. Some of the world’s most skilled players have spent time in either one of these teams, and if you manage to catch a fiery game where they play against each other, just make sure you sit in the right section of the stadium. You don’t want to cheer an Inter goal when you’re sitting in the AC stand.
The most successful German soccer team in history plays its home games in Munich – FC Bayern Munich. Winner of five Champions League trophies (as well as one famously heartbreaking last-second 2-1 defeat to Manchester United), Bayern Munich games are always loud, entertaining, and full of drama. Make sure you grab a bratwurst and beer while you watch the game.
Not far from Liverpool rests another massively soccer-mad city in the form of Manchester. Many people will be aware of Manchester United thanks to stars like David Beckham and Wayne Rooney, as well as fame from three Champions League trophies and many EPL titles, it’s not the only team there! Manchester City is fast catching up in fame and awards, already with four EPL titles and a roster full of very gifted players.
You might not immediately think of Los Angeles as a soccer city, considering just how popular basketball and baseball is in this metropolis, but the LA Galaxy are easily the best team in America’s soccer league, MLS (Major League Soccer). Stars like David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have both spent a lot of time at LA Galaxy, and if you visit one of the home games, you’ll find that the Americans bring just as much passion and knowledge to soccer as they do to any other sport.
There is so much to see and do in Paris, but if you’re here for soccer, then do yourself a favor and see a game at Le Parc des Princes. This is home to the city’s best team, Paris Saint-Germain, which boasts internationally famous megastars such as Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. The team might not have the success like other European clubs, but the chance the watch a game after all your sightseeing is not to be missed.