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Why Do Soccer Players Cry When They Lose? | 8 Common Reasons

Why Do Soccer Players Cry When They Lose? | 8 Common Reasons

Most sports require the athletes to be tough and soccer is not an exception. Soccer players are required to be firm with the ball and use their bodies to shield off their opponents.

As the fans of soccer grew, so did the level of emotion invested in the game. It is uncommon to see a soccer player crying after losing a friendly game.

However, there is usually a lot of waterworks when a team loses important games. The amount of tears shed by soccer players usually worsens as competitions get closer to the finals.

For example, fewer players may be willing to shed tears if they lose their game in the round of 16 compared to when they lose at the finals.

In fact, every World Cup tournament usually ends in tears and some of your favorite superstars are not immune to crying when they lose.

From Cristiano Ronaldo to Neymar Jr., and Lionel Messi, most of the revered superstars have been spotted at one point or another crying after losing a big game for either their club or country.

Americans may not really understand the fuss about soccer because the game is inferior to American football for them. This explains why they are usually the ones that ask ‘why do soccer players cry when they lose” the most.

In this post, we are going to tell you all the reasons behind the tears when soccer players lose. It will surprise you to know that some of the reasons go beyond what happens on the pitch. Read on to find out.

Why do soccer players cry when they lose?

It is easy to compare the kind of emotion inspired by soccer to love, birth, and death. When words fail us, crying is usually the only way we can express emotions.

The pain of losing after giving so much is unbearable that even the toughest players may find it hard holding back their tears. Here are some of the common reasons why soccer players cry when they lose.

The chants of opponent fans feel like mockery

soccer fans cheer for a win

When terrible things happen to us, we may struggle so hard not to cry. However, if someone should rub the misfortune in our face by making fun of us, that doubles the pain and makes it harder to hold back tears.

Soccer players are often surrounded by tens of thousands of fans. Unfortunately, when they lose a game, the jubilation of fans of the opposite team starts feeling like mockery to them which makes it harder for them to hold back their tears.

Fans are always robed in excitement when their team wins a major trophy that they often forget to be empathetic towards the losers—who in this case are right in front of them. It is almost impossible to tell fans to tone down their celebrations and that hurts.

The feeling of letting the people that trust them down

disappointed soccer fans

The reason why some soccer players cry when they lose is not really about themselves but due to the feeling of letting the people that believe in them down. They bear the weight of the pain of the entire fan that is looking up to them.

Also, some of them usually have families among the spectators. Imagine having your ten-year-old son or daughter watching and cheering you from the crowd.

Perhaps, you even promised him or her that you will bring home the trophy. When you lose, that makes you feel like a liar. No parent will ever want to be seen as a liar by their kids.

Lost bet

While it is illegal and strongly discouraged, there are soccer players that still engage in bets. Some bet huge amounts of money with either friends or acquaintances that they will win a game.

In 2020, English soccer player and Newcastle United right-back, Kieran Trippier was slammed with £70,000 followed by 10 weeks ban from all soccer-related activity for breaching the association football betting regulations and FA’s betting rules.

So, when they accidentally lose the game, they are not only losing the trophy but also whatever they had staked in the bet. Casting their minds to the cascading losses is usually the source of the waterworks.

The bigger the stake, the more tears the soccer player is likely to shed if they lose.

Approaching the end of their career

Unlike other career options like music or entrepreneurship where the person can keep working until the 70s or 80s or even till they drop dead, soccer players usually have a short career shelf life.

As early as 33 years, only a few clubs will be willing to sign you. Even national teams will begin to keep you on the bench in preference to younger players.

You will not blame the team managers for doing so. Soccer in the twenty-first century is fast-paced and requires young and vibrant players that can catch up with the pace.

soccer player gets upset after a soccer match

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo seem to be the only exception to this rule at the moment—and that shows how much they train to stay relevant in the game.

Every soccer player knows they have a limited amount of time to win every trophy there is to win before they come to the end of their career.

If a soccer player is playing his last World Cup tournament before retirement, he will definitely want to win it—more like leaving with a high ovation.

Therefore, when this opportunity slips off their grip, it will usually end with an unbearable heartbreak that will cause them to cry like babies. The feeling will be worse if his or her team loses at the finals.

For example, Cristian Ronaldo cried when Portugal lost to Greece at the 2004 Euros final. He also cried when Portugal lost to Belgium in the round of 16 during the Euro 2020 tournament. We all know he may not actively be a part of the next European Championship.

Missed opportunity for a grand entry

While soccer players that are close to retirement cry because of missed last opportunity, younger soccer players making their first appearance in a major tournament for their club or country will also likely cry when they lose.

Unlike the older players that will usually cry more if they lose closer to the finals, the younger players will mourn every loss, be it at the beginning of the tournament or closer to the finals.

When they lose at the beginning, they will cry because they will need more game time to make their presence felt.

On the other hand, if they lose at the finals, they will cry too because winning a trophy in your first tournament appearance will have agents and different soccer clubs queueing up to sign you—particularly if you played a key role in the success of your team.

Feeling of remorse

When a soccer player misses a penalty and his team ends up losing the tournament because of that one missed penalty, the player is likely to feel like he or she is the sole cause of the loss—whether that has been phenomenal throughout the game or not.

In 2019 during the Copa America penalty shootout between Colombia and Chile, Colombian player William Tesillo missed a penalty which eventually led to the team’s elimination from the tournament.

Chile vs Colombia | Copa América 2019 | Cuartos de final

Subsequently, Tesillo started receiving threats on his social media. Some soccer players have also been killed for costing their teams a tournament.

So, by crying after costing the team a chance to advance in a tournament, a soccer player will be indirectly seeking compassion, forgiveness, and empathy from aggrieved fans who may be thinking of doing something vile to them.

First major defeat

For a soccer player that is used to winning every game, the first loss is always devastating. The feeling will be worse if that loss leads to elimination from a major tournament.

For example, Liverpool holds the record for the longest unbeaten run in the premier league. They played a total of 44 matches from January 12 2019 to February 24, 2020 without losing.

A soccer player that joined them during this period will almost feel as if winning is his right. The first loss after a long streak of wins is always a hard pill to swallow.

Chasing a record

world cup

If a soccer player of a team is chasing a record (maybe unbeaten record, winning a trophy for the first time, or winning a trophy for the greatest number of times), losing out of the chase will almost certainly cause some of the players to shed tears.

The players will usually cry because of the lost opportunity to write their name perpetually in history. Imagine the feeling it will give to be regarded as a part of the first team that won the first World Cup for a country.


When soccer players step out of the dressing room onto the pitch, they know that they represent not themselves alone but the thousands or millions of people in their country. They carry this weight on their shoulder

Therefore, losing a game always feels like betraying these thousands or millions of people looking up to you. That feeling of knowing that you could have done better can cause even the strongest soccer player to shed tears.

However, sometimes, the tears are due to personal losses like not reaching a new personal record or the missed opportunity to win a personal trophy.

Whatever the case may be, the emotions that run in the game of soccer are usually so high that you will not blame any soccer player that breaks down after a loss.

Imagine being overwhelmed by the feeling of being called a loser by the over 3 billion soccer fans around the globe. It will take more than physique to keep your eyes dry.