Get ready to be dazzled by some of the coolest and most extraordinary facts about football that you probably haven’t come across yet. Whether you’re a die-hard fan who lives and breathes football or someone who watches it just for fun, these fascinating and intriguing facts about football are guaranteed to blow your mind.
From uncovering the number of balls used in a single match to revealing the longest-ever football match played, this compilation of the top 55+ surprising facts about football is jam-packed with mind-blowing and astonishing bits of information.
Surprising Facts About Football
Let’s take a deep dive into the world of football and unearth some truly mind-boggling and jaw-dropping facts.
1. Goalkeepers Were Not Always Allowed to Use Their Hands
In the early days of football, goalkeepers were not allowed to touch the ball with their hands. This rule was only introduced in 1863.
2. The Tallest Goalkeeper Was 8 Feet Tall
Simon Bloch Jorgensen from Denmark is the tallest goalkeeper ever recorded. He was 6.8 feet tall.
3. The First Football World Cup Did Not Have a Final
The first-ever football World Cup in 1930 did not have a final match. The winner was decided based on a league system.
4. The Fastest Goal in History Took Only 1.8 Seconds
Nawaf Al Abed of Al Hilal scored the fastest goal in football history in a Saudi Arabian league match in 2017. It took only 1.8 seconds for him to score.
5. The Record for the Most Goals Scored in a Single Match Is 149
The highest-scoring football match in history was a game between Stade Olympique de L’emyrne and AS Adema in Madagascar in 2002, which ended 149-0.
6. The First Game Broadcasted on Television Was a Football Match
The first-ever live sports event broadcasted on television was a football match between Arsenal and Arsenal Reserves in 1937.
7. The Fastest Red Card Was Given After Just 2 Seconds
The fastest red card in football history was given to Lee Todd of Cross Farm Park Celtic after only two seconds into a Sunday league game in 2000.
8. Football Is the Most Watched Sport in the World
Football is the most watched sport globally, with an estimated 3.5 billion fans worldwide.
9. The Highest Transfer Fee Ever Paid Is €222 Million
In 2017, Paris Saint-Germain paid €222 million to sign Neymar from Barcelona, making him the most expensive footballer in history.
10. The Shortest Football Player Was 3 Feet 7 Inches Tall
Manuel Francisco dos Santos, also known as Garrincha, was the shortest football player in history. He was only 3 feet 7 inches tall.
11. The Highest Scoring Draw in History Was 11-11
In 1930, a Scottish Cup tie between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Vale of Leithen ended in an 11-11 draw, the highest-scoring draw in football history.
12. The World’s Largest Football Stadium Can Hold Over 150,000 Fans
The Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, is the largest football stadium in the world. It has a capacity of over 150,000 fans.
13. The First Football Club Was Founded in 1857
Sheffield FC, founded in 1857, is the world’s oldest football club.
14. The Highest Scoring International Match Was 31-0
In 2001, Australia beat American Samoa 31-0 in a World Cup qualifier, which is the highest-scoring international match in history.
15. The World Cup Trophy Was Stolen Twice
The FIFA World Cup trophy was stolen twice, in 1966 and 1983, but was recovered both times.
16. Football Has Been Played in Space
In 2014, a group of astronauts played a game of football on the International Space Station to celebrate the World Cup.
17. The Most Goals Scored in a Calendar Year Is 91
Lionel Messi holds the record for most goals scored in a calendar year. He scored 91 goals in 2012.
18. The Longest Football Match in History Lasted 3 Days
The longest football match in history was played between two teams from England, Stockport County and Doncaster Rovers, in 1946. It lasted for 3 days, with a total playing time of 27 hours and 20 minutes.
19. The World Cup Has Been Canceled Twice
The FIFA World Cup has been canceled twice, in 1942 and 1946, due to World War II.
20. The Oldest Footballer Ever Was 50 Years Old
Kazuyoshi Miura from Japan is the oldest footballer ever to play professionally. He was 50 years old when he played his last match in 2021.
21. The Most Successful Football Club in History Is Real Madrid
Real Madrid is the most successful football club in history, with 13 Champions League and 34 La Liga titles.
22. Pakistan Produces Top-Notch Footballs for FIFA
Many footballs used in international competitions, including the FIFA World Cup, are produced in Pakistan. The city of Sialkot in Pakistan is renowned for its high-quality football production, with over 40 million footballs produced annually.
23. The World Cup Has Been Hosted by Two Countries Only Once
The 2002 World Cup, hosted by South Korea and Japan, is the only time two countries have co-hosted the tournament.
24. The World Cup Ball Has a Name
The official ball of the World Cup has a name. It is called the Telstar and has been used in every World Cup since 1970.
25. Football Was Originally Called “Association Football”
Football was originally called “Association Football” to distinguish it from other forms, such as rugby and American football.
26. The Most Expensive Football Match Ever Was Worth €5.5 Billion
The 2021 UEFA Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea was the most expensive football match ever played, with a total value of €5.5 billion.
27. The First Football Match in History Was Played in 1863
The first football match in history was played on October 26, 1863, between two teams of English players.
28. The Fastest Goal in Professional Football Was Scored in Just 1.8 Seconds
The fastest goal in professional football was scored by Ricardo Olivera of Uruguay, who scored just 1.8 seconds after the kick-off in a game against Nacional in 1998.
29. The Heaviest Defeat in Football History Was 149-0
In 2002, Stade Olympique de L’emyrne of Madagascar suffered the heaviest defeat in football history, losing 149-0 to AS Adema.
30. The Most Goals Scored by a Single Player in a Year Is 91
Lionel Messi set the record for the most goals scored by a single player in 2012, scoring 91 goals that year.
31. The First Ever Red Card in Football Was Shown in 1976
The first ever red card in football was shown to a player named Dave Wagstaffe in 1976 while playing for Blackburn Rovers.
32. The First World Cup Was Held in 1930
The first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930 and was won by Uruguay.
33. Football Players Run an Average of 7 Miles per Game
Professional football players cover an average distance of 7 miles during a single game, with some players running up to 9 or 10 miles.
34. Goalkeepers Have a Unique Color Jersey to Distinguish Them from Other Players
Goalkeepers wear a unique color jersey, typically green, yellow, or orange, to distinguish them from the players on the field.
35. The First Footballer to Reach 100 Million Instagram Followers Is Cristiano Ronaldo
In 2020, Cristiano Ronaldo became the first footballer to reach 100 million followers on Instagram, cementing his position as one of the most popular athletes in the world.
36. The Shortest Football Player in History Was Just 3 Feet 7 Inches Tall
The shortest football player in history was Jamshid Nassiri, who was just 3 feet 7 inches tall.
37. The Most Expensive Transfer Fee Ever Paid Was €222 Million
The most expensive transfer fee was €222 million for Neymar’s transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.
38. The First International Football Match Was Played Between Scotland and England
The first-ever international football match was played between Scotland and England in 1872.
39. Pelé Scored Over 1,000 Career Goals
Brazilian football legend Pelé scored 1,283 goals in his professional career, making him one of the most prolific goal-scorers ever.
40. Zlatan Ibrahimović Has Played for 9 Different Clubs in 4 Different Countries
Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović has played for 9 different clubs in 4 countries, including Ajax, Barcelona, and Manchester United.
41. Lionel Messi Has Won the Ballon d’Or a Record 7 Times
Argentine footballer Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or award 7 times, recognizing him as the best footballer in the world.
42. Megan Rapinoe Has Won Both the World Cup and Olympic Gold Medal
American footballer Megan Rapinoe is among the few players who won the World Cup and Olympic Gold Medal in women’s football.
43. Ronaldinho Was Arrested in Paraguay for Possession of Fake Passport
Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho was arrested in Paraguay in 2020 for possessing a fake passport, which he was accused of using to enter the country.
44. Andrea Pirlo Was a Professional Sommelier Before Becoming a Footballer
Italian footballer Andrea Pirlo, known for his elegant style of play, was a professional sommelier before becoming a professional footballer.
45. Argentina Has Won the Copa América 15 Times
The Argentine national football team has won the Copa América, the oldest international football tournament, a record 15 times, most recently in 2021. The team is known for producing legendary players such as Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.
46. Black footballer who reportedly debuted in the 1800s
Arthur Wharton was a black footballer who reportedly debuted in the 1800s.
47. An entire football team died from lightning
Lightning resulted in the death of a football team in 1998 from Basanga.
48. Football player has been substituted 134 times, most in the Premier League
Ryan Giggs has been substituted 134 times, more than any other football player. Although he scored 109 goals throughout his Premier League journey, Giggs never achieved a hat-trick in his 632 matches, despite accomplishing 11 instances of scoring two goals (braces).
49. In a Premier League game, Gareth Bale achieves multiple feats.
Gareth Bale scored, assisted, scored his own goal, and received a yellow card all in one Premier League football game: Tottenham vs. Liverpool in 2013.
50. A Player who played for three countries and was recognized by FIFA
László Kubala is the only player to play for three countries recognized by FIFA: Argentina, Spain, and Colombia.
51. International football player Ahn Jung-hwan was kicked out of his club Perugia FC.
Twenty years ago, South Korea stunningly eliminated Italy from the World Cup, with Serie A striker Ahn Jung-hwan netting the decisive golden goal in a contentious match.
52. Three players born after 1992 to score a hat-trick in the Premier League
Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, and Romelu Lukaku. Kane secured his fourth Premier League hat-trick of the season, aiding Spurs in achieving their inaugural second-place position in the competition.
Six days after celebrating his 20th birthday, Lukaku joined the ranks as the fifth player to accomplish a Premier League hat-trick while coming on as a substitute. This feat has been replicated only twice more since then.
53. Football was invented in China
Today it might be unimaginable that football is thought to have originated in China around 476 B.C., considering that their national team currently is ranked only at 86th place in the FIFA World Ranking.
54. Kazuyoshi Miura is the oldest professional player
The Japanese football player and icon Kazuyoshi Miura, also known as Kazu, is currently the oldest professional soccer player.
See Also – NFL 2023 Games live stream online
56. Roosevelt threatened to ban football unless new safety rules were established.
In the year 1905, a total of 18 lives were tragically lost during the season. One particularly significant injury involved Teddy Roosevelt Jr., a Harvard player, who suffered a severe facial injury. His father, President Teddy Roosevelt, threatened to ban football due to its perceived “brutality and foul play.”
57. The Premier League is regarded as the top-ranked soccer league.
The primary leagues are the Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, and the English Premier League. While fans always debate which league holds supremacy, the current trend leans toward the Premier League, which currently commands the highest level of attention.
That’s it, Folks!
The football world is filled with fascinating, cool facts that amaze you. From the incredible achievements of legendary footballers to the amazing records set by teams and players, football is truly a remarkable phenomenon.
These interesting facts about football provide a glimpse into the history and culture of this beloved sport and demonstrate the sheer passion and dedication of those involved in it.