[SPORTS] World’s Most popular Sport…

In the U.S. American football is arguably the most popular sport with the rising interest in “Fantasy Football” where Men and Woman create fantasy teams with players from the NFL and use their stats to determine winners. However it is Association Football known to many as Soccer that is the runaway winner for the most popular sport in the entire world.

A study by in 2014 found the fan base at approx 3.5 Billion fans Worldwide! With our estimated population at 7 Billion that means HALF of the World are fans of the sport. Of all sports it is one of the easiest to pick up, as it simply requires you to be able to run and kick the ball creating a minimal learning curve. As it is the most popular sport, it also has the most passionate fans by far. In fact, fans of the sport often go over the edge as it’s common to have fights at stadiums full over 100K people with competing squads. One thing many do not know is that championship teams are paid quite handsomely with the 2010 World Cup winner taking home a cool 30 Million. Real Madrid’s Renaldo cashed in with $17 Million not including bonuses. Not bad for a 25 year old…

When you look at how much revenue is brought in for teams, individual salaries, TV rights and upward trend Basketball narrowly takes the second spot over Cricket, which is wildly popular among fans as well. Basketball, with its expansion in European leagues and increasing American presences in countries like China where Stephon Marbury has resurrected his life and career propels Basketball to this slot on the list. With players like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and now Lebron James over the past 40 years there have been great stars to carry the torch with a host of other greatly talented players. In a questionable move in 1992 America decided to allow professionals to play in the Olympics as every other country does thus the “Dream Team” was created consisting of many top 50 all time Hall of Famers. Needless to say they were treated like rock stars traveling the world and the brand on their shoulders helping to gain popularity for the sport.

As mentioned, Cricket comes in a close third with Tennis in the fourth slot. Tennis has long tradition all over the World and comes as no surprise appearing this high on the list as many kids, couples, and even seniors play the sport.

Ice Hockey cracks the top 10 at 9 on the list beating out popular traditional American sports Baseball and Football that land at 11 and 12 respectively. Hockey is loved in countries like Canada, the Russian republic, Europe, and America as well.

While the U.S. dictates a great deal, clearly when it comes to sports other parts of the World have an influence greater than many might think. What are your favorite and top ten sports? List them in the comments sections…







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Robbie Rogers greeted by cheers

Robbie Rogers just wants to go back to being a pro soccer player. First, though, he had history to make.

Rogers became the first openly gay male athlete to play in a U.S. professional league on Sunday night, making his Major League Soccer debut with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

He entered as a substitute in the 77th minute with the Galaxy leading the Seattle Sounders 4-0, which turned out to be the final score.

“I guess this is a historic thing, but for me it was just a soccer game,” he said.
He received loud cheers from the crowd of 24,811 as he ran onto the pitch, with fans chanting his last name. Rogers ran by teammate Landon Donovan, who slapped his hand and patted him on the back as he took his position.

“Because of the nature of the way sports has been for so many years — the macho culture that’s been embraced by everybody — it’s of interest to everybody,” Donovan said. “Now, hopefully, the hype about it is over and he can get back to being a soccer player, which is what he wants to do.”

Rogers touched the ball a couple times in the closing minutes of the Galaxy’s victory, which ended Seattle’s three-game winning streak. The 26-year-old midfielder hadn’t played professionally since last year. He spent the last two seasons in England.

With the Galaxy owning a comfortable lead, head coach Bruce Arena was able to insert Rogers.

“No pressure at all,” Rogers said. “I got to totally enjoy myself and take it all in.”

He stopped to do a couple postgame TV interviews on the field before signing a few autographs for kids calling out to him from the stands.

Rogers retired from the sport in February, when he revealed in a post on his blog that he is gay. He has been training with the Galaxy since April at the invitation of Arena.

“In a lot of ways the easy part is over,” Arena said. “Now the difficult part remains, which is getting him positioned to play. Our expectations for Robbie are not anything big in the near future. Hopefully, he’ll get back to the way we think he can be.”

Rogers’ signing on Saturday was so recent that he wasn’t listed in the game day program, which featured a picture of Mike Magee in the centerfold. Magee, the Galaxy’s leading scorer and a fan favorite, was traded to his hometown Chicago Fire, which held Rogers’ MLS rights.

Nerves began getting the best of Rogers in the hours before he left home for the stadium. Not because he was worried about the prospect of being the first openly gay male athlete to play, but because his soccer skills were rusty.

“I was like, ‘Oh gosh,'” he said.

He called his sister for reassurance.

“I just needed to hear someone’s voice,” Rogers said. “We were talking about my dog. Just get my mind off things.”

Rogers’ return comes less than a month after 12-year NBA veteran Jason Collins announced he is gay, becoming the first active male athlete to come out. Collins, however, has not competed since the announcement. He is a free agent.

Before Sunday’s game, Collins tweeted support for Rogers.

“Good luck tonight @robbierogers and @ToddDunivant #LAgalaxy Send @TaylorGraham26 and Seattle Sounders home with a loss #Support #HomeTeam,” Collins wrote.

The loudest chants of “Robbie, Robbie” were for Robbie Keane, who had his first career three-goal game in MLS. His three goals, including two on penalty kicks, and another by Sean Franklin gave the Galaxy a 4-0 lead at halftime.

Keane’s hat trick in a 44-minute span was the second-fastest in Galaxy history. The fastest occurred in 43 minutes in 2004 by Alejandro Moreno.

Keane scored three consecutive goals 10 minutes apart. His first in the 24th minute came on a right-footed shot from the center of the box into the bottom right corner of the goal following a corner.

Keane followed in the 34th minute, burying a penalty shot in the bottom right corner. He converted another penalty shot in the 44th minute, booting the ball into the bottom left corner.

The Galaxy’s first goal came in the 12th minute when Franklin’s right-footed shot from close range into the center of the goal. Keane and Marcelo Sarvas had the assists.

Keane, the team captain from Ireland, and Omar Gonzalez will leave the Galaxy for international play. Keene is expected to miss the Galaxy’s next two games and Gonzalez will miss the next three.

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David Beckham career officially over

The veteran midfielder was not included in Paris Saint-Germain’s squad to play Lorient in Sunday’s season-ending game, meaning his tearful farewell at the Parc des Princes last Saturday was Beckham’s final match before retiring.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti had said last weekend Beckham was unlikely to play at Lorient, having bid an emotional adieu to fans in his last home game.
Beckham received a standing ovation as he left the field last Saturday, having been involved in two of his team’s goals in the 3-1 win against Brest.

It was his 14th game and fifth start since joining PSG in a surprise move on the last day of the transfer window, and he was appointed captain for the match. He set up PSG’s second goal against Brest with a corner kick from the left that midfielder Blaise Matuidi steered in.

PSG had clinched the league title the previous weekend after winning 1-0 away to Lyon, making Beckham the first English player to win the championship in four countries after title success with Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy. He then announced he’d retire at the end of the season.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi remains hopeful Beckham will play a part in PSG’s future, possibly in an ambassadorial role.

Beckham leaves PSG without scoring a goal, but showed he is still capable of pinpoint passing and crossing — and also stood out for his competitive streak.

He was booked in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal against Barcelona, and against Evian on April 28 he was red-carded shortly after coming on as he went into a tackle with a dangerously raised foot. There was no contact, but the challenge was reckless.

Beckham was often praised by coach Carlo Ancelotti for the example he set for other players, notably with his attitude in practice.

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David Beckham to retire at season end

David Beckham is retiring from soccer, ending a career in which he transcended the sport with forays into fashion and a marriage to a pop star that made him a global celebrity
The 38-year-old former England captain, who recently won a league title in a fourth country with Paris Saint-Germain, said Thursday he will quit after the season.

“It’s a good way to go out,” Beckham said in Paris. “It’s every athlete’s dream, every footballer’s dream to go out on the top — on top form or winning a trophy … leaving as a champion.”

Beckham, whose curling free kicks and pinpoint crosses became his signature as a player, has two more matches left at PSG — against Brest on Saturday and at Lorient on May 26. He has been giving his salary to a children’s charity.

Asked what led to his decision, Beckham replied with a laugh: “Probably when (Lionel) Messi was running past me in that home game,” referring to PSG’s Champions League match against Barcelona last month.

Beckham started his career with Manchester United and also played for Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy, winning titles with all those clubs. He played on loan with AC Milan and made 115 appearance for his country, a record in England for someone other than a goalkeeper.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter described the midfielder as “one of the most iconic figures in global football.”

“It’s the end of a chapter of an amazing story,” Blatter wrote on Twitter. “David grew up as a football loving child & achieved his dreams, and unquestionably inspired millions of boys & girls to try & do the same.

“Whatever he chooses to do next I’m sure he’ll approach with the same dedication & good grace he displayed the last 21 years.”

Beckham’s fame went beyond the field, with his haircuts and clothing scrutinized as often as his play, earning him a string of lucrative sponsorship deals.

Manchester United:
Champions League: 1998–99
Premier League (6): 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03
FA Cup (2): 1995–96, 1998–99
Intercontinental Cup: 1999
Community Shield (4): 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997

Real Madrid
La Liga: 2006–07
Spanish Supercopa: 2003

Los Angeles Galaxy:
MLS Cup (2): 2011, 2012
MLS Supporters’ Shield (2): 2010, 2011
MLS Western Conference –
Winners (Regular Season) (3): 2009, 2010, 2011
Winners (Playoffs) (3): 2009, 2011, 2012

Paris Saint-Germain:
Ligue 1: 2012–13

“Sometimes that has overshadowed what I have done on the pitch or what I have achieved on the pitch,” Beckham said in a television interview conducted by former United teammate Gary Neville. “And as much as I say that doesn’t hurt me, of course it does.

“I am a footballer that has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world and played with some of the best players in the world, played under some of the biggest and best managers and achieved almost everything in football.”

Beckham was immortalized with the 2002 movie “Bend it Like Beckham,” which told the story of a British teenage girl of south Asian heritage struggling with family pressures and cultural expectations to play the sport she loves. Beckham’s retirement led to a flood of tweets dubbing the day “End it Like Beckham.”

“If you had told me as a young boy I would have played for and won trophies with my boyhood club Manchester United, proudly captained and played for my country over one hundred times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy,” Beckham said. “I’m fortunate to have realized those dreams.”

It was his appearances with England’s national team that raised his profile internationally.

“To this day, one of my proudest achievements is captaining my country,” Beckham said. “I knew every time I wore the Three Lions shirt, I was not only following in a long line of great players, I was also representing every fan that cared passionately about their country. I’m honored to represent England both on and off the pitch.”

Beckham is now living in London with wife Victoria, a former “Spice Girls” singer, and their four children.

“I wouldn’t have achieved what I have done today without my family. I’m grateful for my parents’ sacrifice, which made me realize my dreams,” he said. “I owe everything to Victoria and the kids, who have given me the inspiration and support to play at the highest level for such a long period.”

Victoria Beckham said the couple is “excited about the next chapter in our lives.”

“The children and I are so proud of David. It’s been an incredible journey for us all as we have watched him play at clubs all over the world throughout the last 15 years,” she said.

“Myself and the children have cheered him from the stands, as he has held high trophies … this was not an easy decision to make, and to me and the children he will always be an amazing sportsman and a devoted husband and father.”

With United between 1992 and 2003, Beckham won six Premier League titles, the Champions League, two FA Cups and the Intercontinental Cup.

Beckham left United in 2003 shortly after manager Sir Alex Ferguson accidentally struck Beckham’s eye with a soccer boot. Ferguson announced his retirement from Manchester United last week.

Beckham spent four years in Madrid — winning the 2007 Spanish title before making the surprise move to Major League Soccer, where he won the title twice.

MLS Before & After Beckham
Numbers 2006 2012
Teams 12 19
Soccer stadiums 2 13
Avg salary $85,329 $179,166
Avg attendance 15,504 18,807*
*MLS record
Source: ESPN Stats & Info

“I just want people to see me as a hardworking footballer,” Beckham said. “Someone who is passionate about the game, somebody who every time I have stepped on the pitch I have given everything that I have.”

There were highs and lows in Beckham’s international career. He was blamed for England’s elimination from the 1998 World Cup for his red card against Argentina, but scored the winning goal against the same team at the World Cup four years later.

Beckham responded to jeering at the 2000 European Championship with an obscene hand gesture to England fans, but was lauded by the same supporters little more than a year later when his last-minute free kick against Greece secured a place at the 2002 World Cup.

England dropped Beckham in 2006 in an effort to renew the team with younger players after a quarterfinal exit at that year’s World Cup. England coach Steve McClaren recalled him the following year after a poor run of form, and he returned for the remainder of England’s unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the 2008 European Championship.

His last England appearance came against Belarus in October 2009, and he missed the 2010 World Cup because of an Achilles tendon injury. He still went to South Africa as part of Fabio Capello’s staff.

“I want to thank all my teammates, the great managers that I had the pleasure of learning from,” Beckham said. “I also want to thank the fans who have all supported me and given me the strength to succeed.”

Beckham had already started planning for his post-playing career earlier in the season, becoming an ambassador for Chinese soccer.

“Nothing will ever completely replace playing the game I love, however I feel like I’m starting a new adventure and I’m genuinely excited about what lies ahead,” Beckham said. “I’m fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it’s my time to give back.”

Beckham played a key role in helping London win the bid to host the 2012 Olympics. He also was involved in England’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup, and the English Football Association wants to draw on his influence and star power in the future.

“He is an iconic figure in the game and produced wonderful performances for his clubs, particularly Manchester United,” FA chairman David Bernstein said. “When you look at his playing and work for England, no one would ever accuse him of being unpatriotic and not giving everything for his country.

“He is a real loss to the game and I am sure the FA will want to embrace him and to get him closely associated with the organization.”

Beckham’s retirement comes a week after the 71-year-old Ferguson ended his managerial career.

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