Due to its love for sports, Slovenia can be considered a sports nation. The Slovenians pay great attention to basketball, handball and ice hockey, and besides those most commonly played sports, people in this country also show great interests in sky jumping, skiing, athletics and tennis. However, the most popular sport in Slovenia by far is football. If you would like to know more about football in this country, our little article might just be the perfect read for you.
Popularity of Football in Slovenia and Their Biggest Achievements
Football is not only the most popular sport in Europe but also in the world, so it comes as no surprise that it is highly regarded among Slovenian people. A testament to its popularity can be seen in many sportsbooks who show a high interest in the sport. You may often stumble upon special betting promotions and various bonuses, such as kod-bonusu.com, for example. After all, who doesn’t enjoy adding some little extra excitement to their favourite sport?
Even though it is highly popular, the quality of Slovenian football is not the best one out there. However, regardless of all that, Slovenia has still managed to accomplish quite a few feats when it comes to this sport. They qualified for three major tournaments since the country gained independence from SFR Yugoslavia in 1991 — UEFA Euro 2000, 2002 FIFA World Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup.
When it comes to club football, Slovenia also had their teams playing in the group stage of the Champions League — it is the biggest success in the history of Slovenian football for those clubs ever since professional football was introduced to Slovenia in the late 19th century.
The Most Popular Football Clubs in Slovenia
The highest rank of football competition in Slovenia is called Slovenian First Football League (Prva slovenska nogometna liga).
This main football league in Slovenia was formed in 1991 when this country became independent, and until that moment, it had been a part of the lower division of the Yugoslavian league football system. Even though their league is relatively small compared to major leagues out there, the competition is always fierce.
There are only 10 teams participating in Slovenian First Football League, and only three of those clubs have never been relegated to the Slovenian Second Football League: Celje, Maribor and Gorica. Maribor is the best-known club in Slovenia and it is also the club that has won the most titles in this domestic competition, 14 overall. It is closely followed by Olimpija, Gorica and Domzale.
Despite the small size, Slovenian professional football regularly holds the cup competition for their best teams, and the winner of the Slovenian Cup also gains a place in the European qualifiers for the next season of European group phase competition.
The Most Famous Slovenian Football Players
This small football nation also has several football players that have earned great respect from football fans all over the world. The most popular football players that come from Slovenia are Srečko Katanec, Zlatko Zahovič and Milenko Ačimovič.
Zlatko Zahovič is probably the most famous Slovenian footballer who played as an attacking midfielder for some of the biggest European and Portuguese clubs, such as Porto and Benfica. He is also the all-time record holder in the number of goals for Slovenian national team, and was one of the most important players of the national squad in European and World Cup competitions in the early 2000s. Nowadays, the most recognized face of Slovenian football is Samir Handanovič who plays in Italian Inter Milan as their first goalkeeper.