20 Reasons Why World Football Is the Best Sport in the World

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2013

20 Reasons Why World Football Is the Best Sport in the World

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    There are people who debate what the most popular sport in the world is. 

    Most people may argue that American football or basketball is the most popular sport.

    However, those who try to make arguments for those sports will be highly opposed by the fans of world football. World football is a global game that connects almost every single person on the planet. 

    Here are 20 reasons why world football is the best sport in the world. 

Passion Surrounding the Sport

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    No matter where you watch a football match, one thing never changes.

    That one thing is the passion that everyone around the game contains for football. Regardless of what part of the world you are in, the passion for the sport remains the same. 

    The same passion that is seen in homes across the world is seen at the stadium and on the pitch during each matchday. 

    Every major stadium in world football is packed each weekend with fans that would do anything for their club and players that would do the same,

    No other sport in the world can rival the passion during matches and in the week leading up to each match every week in world football. 

Rivalry Matches

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    One of the best times during each football season is when two bitter rivals face off against each other. 

    These rivalry matches are separate from the crosstown derby matches, but they create the same hate and passion toward the opposing clubs. 

    A perfect example of this would be the Manchester United vs. Liverpool matches that showcase two of the most successful clubs in English football. Other rivalries get created through continental matchups like Barcelona vs. Manchester United in two of the last four UEFA Champions League finals. 

    These rivalries not only add intrigue to the buildup to each match, but they also add to the play on the pitch. 

    In each rivalry match played in world football, the impetus of the players from both clubs is raised above their normal level. 

No Age Limit

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    All of the primary American professional sports require their athletes to be a certain age to play. 

    For example, the NFL has a policy that players have to be three years out of high school before entering the NFL draft. In the NBA, players must be a year removed from high school before entering the draft.

    In world football, there are no age requirements for players to take the pitch. 

    Once a club thinks a player is ready to play first-team football, they will throw that player out on the pitch. 

    The latest examples of this process are Raheem Sterling of Liverpool and Luke Shaw of Southampton 

    Both players made their debuts at the age of 17 this season and impressed their fans with spectacular performances.

    If Sterling or Shaw were American football or basketball players, they would not be able to represent their teams until the age of 19 at the earliest. 

Historic Stadiums

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    In America, you can barely find historic stadiums that were built over a century ago.

    Across Europe and South America, that is the custom for football stadiums. 

    Palatial stadiums like Anfield, Old Trafford, Camp Nou, Maracana, Azteca, and the Bernabeu have stood for years and will be going nowhere anytime soon. 

    Every time a football fan steps into one of those wonderful stadiums, a sense of awe and wonderment fill the spectator's body. 

    In American sports, stadiums rarely last over 40 years due to sports franchises in the United States having to keep up with every other franchise in the game. 

Relegation

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    One of the most unique facets of world football is the relegation. Most top-flight leagues have their worst three clubs sent down to the division below them.

    Instead of the reward of a high draft pick like in American sports, the worst clubs in world football are forced to suffer the utter pain of relegation. 

    The relegation system is truly unique, and it makes a match between two clubs at the bottom of table worth watching because of the relegation factor.

Promotion

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    On the opposite end of the spectrum, promotion to the top flight means everything to a club.

    Even if a club stays in a top European league like the EPL or La Liga for just one season, the financial gains and fan recognition will forever help the promoted club. 

    Some clubs relish the opportunity to earn a promotion to the top flight in their country more than the opportunity to qualify for the European places, a spot in the table where most promoted clubs barely reach.

Dramatic Announcers

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    World football rarely gets criticized for its abundance of quality play-by-play announcers. 

    The cream of the crop in world football announcing is Martin Tyler, who has been calling Premier League matches since its inception in 1992. 

    Tyler's voice has become known across the globe, with his call of Sergio Aguero's goal to win the EPL title last season being his most recent historic call. 

    Fans of the EPL have also been graced with the voice of Ian Darke, who has come to the forefront of football broadcasting over the past few years as his work continues alongside former Liverpool player Steve McManaman for ESPN.

    Another fantastic voice to call world football matches is Ray Hudson, whose commentary for numerous European leagues in recent years has gained plenty of popularity. 

    With three of the greatest voices in the world calling the sport, why even look to another sport for better commentary.

Open Criticism of Ownership

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    While American sports fans just focus on the outspoken owners like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, world football fans focus on every move that an owner makes. 

    It seems as though at least a few times during a season fans profess their disgust with ownership.

    In recent memory, owners that have seen their fans protest against them are Venky's, who own Blackburn Rovers, and Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the former owners of Liverpool. 

    Those are just two of the protests that have caught the attention of the footballing world. 

    This occurs much more often in world football than it does in American sports, and it is what makes football fans much better than fans of any American sport. 

Transfer Madness

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    Twice a year, the madness of the transfer window comes to the forefront of the footballing world. 

    The transfer process in world football is one that is completely different from the free-agent policies in American sports.

    Yes, there are free agents in world football, but the most lucrative deals in the transfer window come from the money that clubs give their fellow clubs when purchasing a player. 

    The most recent lucrative transfer deals in the past few years have been Chelsea's purchase of Fernando Torres, Liverpool's capture of Andy Carroll, Real Madrid's big-money move for Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United's signing of Robin van Persie this past summer. 

Sir Alex and the Special One

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    No two managers in any sport are quite like Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho, 

    Ferguson and Mourinho are the most outspoken managers in world football, and the whole football world pays attention to every single word they say. 

    Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, always has something to say about the events of his club's match and even other matches that do not even involve his club. 

    The 71-year-old met his match back in 2004 when Mourinho entered the EPL as manager of Chelsea.

    Mourinho has since moved on from Stamford Bridge to manage Inter Milan and Real Madrid, but his antics have not changed one bit. 

    Both managerial giants will not leave the game anytime soon and with that being the case, they will always liven up the conversation about any issue that is being discussed in the footballing world. 

    When the two managerial titans square off in February during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, expect plenty of mind games and the regular antics from both Ferguson and Mourinho. 

Volatility of the Manager Position

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    The manager position in world football is one of the hardest jobs to hold on to in all of sports. 

    Not many managers last over three seasons with one club anymore because of the high demand from club owners. 

    The most notorious club to sack managers in the past decade has been Chelsea of the EPL, which has seen 10 different managers since the turn of the century. 

    Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid has been through 11 managers since the turn of the century.

    In a "what have you done for me lately" business, it is not the players who lose their jobs when a club fails to win, it is the manager. 

    Two of the few clubs who have been able to avoid the volatility of the manager firing and hiring process have been Arsenal and Manchester United, two clubs who have had longtime managers in Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson. 

The Subtle Greatness of Barcelona

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    Many American sports dynasties have some outspoken feature to how they handle themselves. Barcelona do not have that quality at all. 

    The players on the Barcelona roster do not go out of their way to make themselves known to everyone else—they just display their greatness on the pitch. 

    Outside of the Camp Nou, there are few times were the club's stars Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta are out and about making themselves known to the public. 

    In America, everywhere you turn you see stars like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Alex Rodriguez promoting their greatness through commercials and high-profile appearances.

    What makes Barcelona so great is that fans barely hear the stars of the club professing how brilliant their club is, and they just let their play on the pitch speak for itself. 

"You'll Never Walk Alone"

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    Whether you are a Liverpool fan or not, one part of the club always sends chills throughout your entire body,

    The signing of "You'll Never Walk Alone" before every home match at Anfield is one of the best traditions in all of sports.

    The chorus of Liverpool fans before every home match can not be matched by any other group of fans in America. It is a truly unique thing to experience. 

    The song means so much to Liverpool that the title of the song is even engraved on the famous Shankly Gates outside of Anfield. 

Domestic Cup Competitions

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    In every country where football is played, there is a cup competition between clubs from every level of the sport in that specific country. 

    The most famous domestic cup competition is England's FA Cup, a tournament that over 750 clubs from around the nation competed in last year. 

    The domestic cup competitions give clubs from the lower leagues an opportunity to not only play clubs from the top flight, but it gives them a chance to do the unthinkable and pull off an upset. 

    These upsets do come few and far between in the age of big-spending top-flight clubs and large depth charts, but when they do happen, they are never forgotten by fans of the club and fans across that country. 

The Outspoken Nature of Sepp Blatter

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    FIFA president Sepp Blatter is never one to shy away from commenting on the state of world football. 

    In most cases, Blatter's remarks are off the charts and spark controversy. 

    Just last week, the head of football's governing body said there was no strong league in America, a nation which has developed a top-flight league, MLS, since 1994 and continues to grow by the season. 

    Blatter once again made headlines over the weekend when he criticized AC Milan's Kevin Prince Boateng for walking off of the pitch after being racially abused by fans. 

    One thing is always certain about Blatter, and that is he will speak his mind on the hot topics of the sport, regardless of what your personal opinion of him is. 

    No other sport has a president or commissioner that comes close to rivaling Blatter when it comes to comments about his sport. 

    Blatter's remarks may not make sense most of the time, but he does speak his mind. You have to give him credit for doing just that. 

Continental Competition

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    Every continent where football is played has a continental competition to determine who is the best club on the continent. 

    The most famous of these competitions is the UEFA Champions League, but there are plenty of other great continental championships. 

    In Africa, Asia and North America, the continental competition is also known as the Champions League.

    The only continental competition not named the Champions League is CONMEBOL's Copa Libertadores. 

    No other sport comes close to rivaling the level of competition at the continental stage.

    The only two sports that are even remotely close to the same idea are European basketball, which has a Champions League, and the Caribbean World Series in baseball. 

Stubborn Governing Bodies Reluctant to Accept New Technology

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    Many football fans may argue that the reluctant nature of the sport's governing bodies to bring in new technology is a bad thing for the sport. 

    I believe that it is something that makes the sport unique. 

    Every other major sport on earth has some type of replay system, except for world football. 

    There have been plenty of moments over the years when goal-line technology should have been used, but the traditionalist nature of football has prevented the new technologies from being instituted. 

    The traditionalist nature of the sport has kept matches going and not slowed down any pace of the game, something that would happen if instant replay were to be introduced. 

Derby Matches

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    The most passionate of matches in world football is the derby match. 

    All across the world, derby matches are held between clubs from the same city. 

    From Liverpool to Istanbul to North London to Rio de Janeiro, derby matches are hotly contested in every part of the world. 

    Every single fan of a football club circles the derby match on the calendar when the fixture list is released.

    The hatred for the rival club in the derby match is deep. That passion flows onto the pitch when the players for each club take part in the dramatics of the derby match as well. 

The Best Athlete in the World Plays in the Sport

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    Lionel Messi is hands down the best athlete on the planet at the moment. 

    Messi plays for FC Barcelona in La Liga and is one of the most talented players to ever grace the pitches of world football. 

    The Argentinian star is the most decorated athlete of the last decade with three straight Ballon d'Or trophies, five La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League titles. 

    No athlete has been as impressive in the past decade as Messi. The only place that you can find the 25-year-old is on the football pitches around the world. 

The World Cup Is the Most Popular Tournament in the World

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    One of the biggest reasons why world football is so popular throughout the world is the FIFA World Cup. 

    The World Cup is the most popular sporting event in the world. It is a showcase for the world's best talents. 

    Talents like Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar will be on display the next time the tournament comes around in 2014, when the tournament takes place in Brazil. 

    With plenty of stars on display and literally the whole world watching, the World Cup will once again prove that world football is the most popular sport in the world. That title will never be taken away from the sport.