15 Best Soccer Cities In The World (Ranked)

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and as crazy as it sounds, it’s still growing in popularity. It’s played in every country of the planet.

While soccer is just a sport or a hobby for some people, it’s much more than that for others. In some locations, a soccer match can be a huge deal that brings eternal joy or bitter disappointment, depending on the result.

These 15 cities are known for their passion for soccer and everything that comes with it: the color, the music, the crowds, the goal celebrations, and much more.

15. Lisbon

  • Clubs: SL Benfica, Sporting CP

Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is very passionate about soccer. Of the three teams that dominate the sport in the country, two make their living there: SL Benfica and Sporting Clube de Portugal.

Their venues, Estádio José Alvalade (Sporting) and the Estádio da Luz (SL Benfica) are must-see stadiums in Lisbon, and watching a game between them (called Derby da Capital) is a thrilling experience.

These two clubs have hosted world-class stars throughout history, such as Eusébio, Paulo Futre, Joao Pinto, Simao Sabrosa, Luis Figo, Nani, and of course Cristiano Ronaldo.

Benfica has won the league title a record 37 times, while Sporting Clube de Portugal has 19 championships. Another team, Belenenses, also plays in Lisbon and is seen as the “underdog” the city. They last won the league title in 1946.

14. Moscow

  • Clubs: FC Spartak Moscow, CSKA Moscow, FC Dynamo Moscow, Lokomotiv Moscow

Soccer is the most popular sport in Russia, and that’s saying a lot because the country is routinely great at other disciplines. Moscow, in particular, loves the sport, and it has four of the most successful clubs in the nation: FC Spartak Moscow, PFC CSKA Moscow, FC Dynamo Moscow, and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Those four clubs have combined for 49 Soviet and Russian League championships, and CSKA won the UEFA Cup/Europa League in 2005.

There is a fifth notable club in the city, FC Torpedo Moscow, that was big back in the Soviet league, but has lost relevancy in modern times. Torpedo won three Soviet Top League titles in the sixties and seventies but is currently in the second-tier division in the Russian system.

13. Munich

  • Clubs: Bayern Munich, TSV 1860 Munich

The city hosts the most successful club in Germany and one of the most decorated in the world, FC Bayern Munich. Watching their home games is a show in and of itself: fans bring their flags and enthusiasm, and the whole 90 minutes are filled with chants, color, and emotion.

You can also find romantic, historic clubs in the city, like TSV 1860 Munich, one of the founders of Bundesliga in 1963.

Munich has hosted games in two different FIFA World Cups: the final match of the 1974 edition was played in the Olympiastadion, and several matches of the 2006 tournament, including the semifinal between Portugal and France, took place at Allianz Arena.

12. Liverpool

  • Clubs: Liverpool FC, Everton FC

Liverpool is home to the Merseyside derby, a hotly-contested matchup between the most successful clubs in the region: Liverpool FC and Everton.

The rivalry is fueled by the fact both teams’ stadiums are very close to each other. They are separated by less than a mile and are within sight of each other across Stanley Park. Everton plays its home games at Goodison Park and Liverpool at the majestic Anfield.

The fact that Liverpool has been considerably more successful when it comes to trophies (64 to Everton’s 24) doesn’t take anything away from this derby.

The city of Liverpool breathes soccer. In fact, the Reds’ anthem is known on a worldwide scale: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

11. Turin

  • Clubs: Juventus FC, Torino FC

Soccer in Turin mostly revolves around two clubs. One has followers around the world and is one of the most successful in Italy, Juventus; and the other one has a more localized fan base; which is Torino FC.

Both squads play the Derby della Mole, or Turin Derby, every year. While Juventus has far more trophies, international recognition, and derby victories (108 to 73), Torino has a rich history and is best remembered for the Grande Torino 1940s team (the best in Italy at the time) that died in the Superga air disaster.

The Stadio delle Alpi, which hosted games in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, was demolished. Now, la Vecchia Signora plays in the modern Juventus Stadium, while Torino uses the Stadio Olimpico, known for hosting games in the 1934 FIFA World Cup.

10. London

  • Clubs: Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Tottenham, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Fulham, QPR

Soccer in the United Kingdom is huge. They have one of the best leagues in the world, and passionate fans all over the country. London, the capital city, hosts several major clubs, most notably Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace, West Ham United, Fulham, and Queens Park Rangers.

The love for soccer in London is such that all these teams, and dozens more, have sizable fan bases. Arsenal has the most trophies of the bunch with 46, but Chelsea is the only one that has been able to win a European Cup/Champions League, with two.

Is London red, blue or white? That’s a question that supporters discuss passionately every season.

9. Manchester

  • Clubs: Manchester United, Manchester City

The UK’s most successful team isn’t in Liverpool, or London. It’s in Manchester, as United has won 20 league titles, 38 domestic tournaments, and eight international cups.

However, since sir Alex Ferguson left United in 2013 (even a year or two before that), Manchester City, the team with which the Red Devils play the Manchester Derby, has been one of the league’s elite teams.

Manchester is definitely a soccer town, with two of the most recognizable brands in today’s sports world in United and City. The best players on the planet want to go to this beautiful city to display their talents and represent one of the two great Manchester clubs.

8. Barcelona

  • Clubs: FC Barcelona, RCD Espanyol

Not only is Barcelona a breathtaking city, but it’s also a passionate soccer town. Kids start playing at a very young age and, if they are good, they are recruited by formative institutions or even professional clubs, like FC Barcelona or RCD Espanyol.

FC Barcelona is a global brand, with notable reach all over the world. Top footballers are associated with the institution, such as Johan Cruyff, Ronald Koeman, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and many more.

Espanyol is more like Barcelona’s “little brother”, but has won four Copa del Rey trophies and has a very loyal fan base. The Derbi Barceloní between the two teams is definitely worth attending.

7. Sao Paulo

  • Clubs: Palmeiras, Sao Paulo FC, Corinthians, Santos FC

In Brazil, soccer is much more than a sport: it’s a religion. Between the state championships (campeonatos estaduais) Brazilian Série A, the Copa do Brasil, and the Copa Libertadores, fans get to see soccer all year long.

Sao Paulo is no exception. It has some of the best and most accomplished clubs in the whole subcontinent: Palmeiras, Sao Paulo FC, and Corinthians, with Santos FC hailing from a nearby town.

Between those four teams, they have nine Copa Libertadores trophies and dozens of leagues and domestic cups. Brazil is a town of soccer, and Sao Paulo is at the heart of it all.

6. Istanbul

  • Clubs: Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Besiktas

Soccer is huge in Istanbul, and the city is dominated by the “Big Three”: Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, and Besiktas. Between the Turkish Süper Lig, domestic cups, and other championships, they have 82, 75, and 65 trophies, respectively.

From 1984 until 2020, when İstanbul Başakşehir took the league, one of these three clubs won the Turkish Süper Lig, a span of 36 years.

Virtually every Turkish star of years past, such as Hakan Sukur, Hasan Sas, Alpay Ozalan, Emre Belozoglu, and many more have been associated with one or more of the Big Three squads. In fact, a select group of players, such as Emre Asik, Mehmet Topal, and Burak Yilmaz, have been with all three.

5. Mexico City

  • Clubs: Club America, Cruz Azul, Club Universidad Nacional

People in Mexico City are mad about soccer. One of the largest cities in the world, it is home to three top teams with millions of followers around the country and the continent: Club America, Cruz Azul, and Club Universidad Nacional (Pumas).

Additionally, Mexico City is home to one of the most majestic stadiums on the planet: the Estadio Azteca, the only one in the world to host two World Cup finals, in 1970 and 1986. In fact, some of the sports’ most iconic moments have taken place on Mexican soil: Pele and Diego Maradona lifting the most wanted trophy with their respective national sides.

America and Cruz Azul are the winningest teams in their zone: the former has seven CONCACAF Champions League trophies, and the latter has six.

4. Rio de Janeiro

  • Clubs: Botafoga, Vasco da Gama, Fluminense, Flamengo

If soccer is Brazil’s most popular sport, it’s foolish to think it’s not a big deal in one of the largest cities in the country, Rio de Janeiro. Soccer is passion, blood, sweat, and tears there. It’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Four big clubs make their living in the city: Botafogo, Vasco da Gama, and Fluminense have achieved enough domestic success to be among the best clubs in the whole country. Flamengo, however, is more than a club.

The Rubro-Negro is the country’s most popular club and one of the biggest in the world. The squad has achieved domestic and international success, with two Copa Libertadores and one Intercontinental Cup.

The Fla-Flu derby between Flamengo and Fluminense is quite a show, with lots of noise, chants, and colors in the stands. Rio de Janeiro is definitely a must-see city for soccer lovers.

3. Milan

  • Clubs: AC Milan, Inter Milan

Every soccer fan should travel to Milan at least once in his/her life. When the Derbi della Madonnina between AC Milan and Inter Milan takes place, the whole city stops. It’s a big deal, and the tifosi celebrate the win of their side with unparalleled passion.

AC Milan is an 18-time league champion powerhouse with lots of European and international success. It has won seven European Cup/Champion Leagues and four Intercontinental Cup/FIFA Club World Cups, among many more pieces of hardware.

Inter Milan, on the other hand, has one more league (19) but fewer international trophies, although their tally is still impressive: three European Cup/Champion Leagues and three Intercontinental Cup/FIFA Club World Cups.

Some of the best players in the history of the game have worn either AC Milan or Inter Milan’s uniform.

2. Madrid

  • Clubs: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Rayo Vallecano, Getafe

Madrid is the capital city of one of the world’s most soccer-crazy countries: Spain. Four teams are currently in the Spanish La Liga, the top flight division: Rayo Vallecano, Getafe, Atletico Madrid, and Real Madrid.

The last two are heavyweights in the sport. Real is the most popular soccer club in the world, and Atletico has found a lot of success recently at both the domestic and international levels.

In fact, Madrid is the only city that had derby matches in the UEFA Champions League Final. It happened two times, in 2014 and 2016, both victories for Real.

Between the two clubs, they have won 45 league championships, but Real has a record 13 European Cups/Champions Leagues as opposed to two Atletico’s zero.

1. Buenos Aires

  • Clubs: Boca Juniors, River Plate

The best soccer city in the world in Buenos Aires. Anyone who says otherwise just hasn’t been there to witness El Superclasico between Boca Juniors and River Plate. That game was deemed one of the “50 sporting things you must do before you die” by The Observer.

It is a highly-contested match with lots of moral and social repercussions for the winner and the loser. No other town on the planet lives, breathes, and feels soccer as the people in Buenos Aires and fans of these two sides, specifically.

Boca and River, two of the most popular teams in the continent and the world, have won 10 Copa Libertadores and four Intercontinental Cups between the league, plus countless leagues and domestic championships.

But soccer in Buenos Aires goes well beyond Boca and River. Yes, they are by far the two biggest teams, but dozens of other squads make their living in the city: Velez Sarsfield, Argentinos Juniors, San Lorenzo de Almagro, Huracan, and many, many more.

A person can’t call him/herself a soccer fan and not visit Buenos Aires.

Connor Smith

I'm Connor, the guy behind SoccerPrime. I'm a former NCAA Div 1 college player that retired at the age of 21 due to injuries - which led me into a new career as a soccer coach.

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