Top 25 best football games for iPhone and iPad (iOS)
The best virtual kick-arounds on iOS
Updated November 23, 2021: New entries added
As the domestic club season wraps up and thoughts turn to the European Championship, our level of football fever is even more pronounced than usual.
Whether you call it football or soccer, the beautiful game is the biggest sport in the world. It's only right, then, that it should be strongly represented on iOS.
If you think that the football game genre is a little narrow to deserve a stand-alone top 25, then you haven't been paying close attention. There's a surprising range of footy-themed experiences on the App Store, which we've done our darnedest to represent in the following list.
You have the usual FIFA and PES blockbuster kick-abouts, of course. But there are also games that represent an older, purer breed of arcade soccer.
Then there are the management games, which take you out of the boot of the players and place you into the Italian leather moccasins of the coaches.
And there's even room for the absolute football gaming oddities. Car football, anyone?
If we've missed your favourite iOS football game, let us know in the comments below.
New Star Manager
The brilliant New Star Soccer set the terms for a brilliant mobile-focused football game of depth and nuance. New Star Manager goes even deeper by shifting the focus from the individual to the team, with masterful results.
Football Manager 2020 Touch
It was always the dream to have a full version of Sports Interactive's epic football simulation game on our iPads. Football Manage Touch 2020 is just that.
New Star Soccer
New Star Soccer dared to present a new way to play football that was specifically designed for touchscreen devices. The result is a game that mixes casual swipe-based gameplay and light management, and the king of mobile footy.
Flick Kick Football
There are plenty of ball flicking games on the App Store, but the original is still the best. From its delicate swipe controls to its pitch-perfect art style, Flick Kick Football is the established champion.
The makers of the brilliant Pixel Cup Soccer have produced this Apple Arcade follow up, which is a much slicker, more polished, 3D affair. At heart, though, it's still a light and fun arcade kick around.
Tiki Taka Soccer
No, it's not a game about boring the opponent to death with metronomic passing. In fact, Tiki Taka Soccer is one of the most thrillingly instinctive games of virtual soccer on the App Store.
Football Manager 2022 Mobile
Not as in-depth or sophisticated as Football Manager Touch, Football Manager 2022 Mobile nonetheless provides an accessible footy management game for iPhone owners and those who don't want to fall too far down the FM rabbit hole.
Another fast-paced arcade kick-around that draws inspiration from the classic top-down games of yesteryear. Retro Soccer is rough around the edges, but it's never less than a giggle to play.
Pixel Cup Soccer 16
FIFA might have the licenses and a certain degree of realism, but Pixel Cup Soccer 2016 nails the straight-forward joy of those classic arcade soccer games of the '90s.
Pocket League Story 2
Manage your team of no-hopers to victory in true Kairosoft style. It's a particularly quirky, lo-fi approach to management that's nowhere near as in-depth as FM, but is a whole lot cuter.
Thanks to Rocket League football with cars is a big thing. Motorball gives you a little slice of that, pared back and with a top-down perspective.
eFootball PES 2021
If you want an in-depth console-style take on football for your mobile, there's only really one choice - and it isn't FIFA Mobile. PES 2021 is built on the same engine as the console games, which makes it an extremely fluid and nuanced take on the beautiful game.
More casual multiplayer action here, as you flick your counters around the pitch to score goals. If you like Subbuteo and air hockey, give it a shot.
Flick Soccer 19
Okay, so we've established that Flick Kick Football is the king of ball flicking. But Flick Soccer comes forward with a number of interesting ideas of its own, and is undoubtedly the deeper experience.
Like Flick Kick Football with a top-down perspective, Tiny Striker has you bending the ball into the back of the net from a variety of improbable positions.
Score! Hero plays like a Match of the Day highlights package, placing you in control of the decisive passes and shots of each game. It's a bit like a flashier (though much less charming) New Star Soccer.
Big Win Soccer
Big Win Soccer brings a dose of the Panini sticker album (or Pokemon, if you're young) to the footy game genre. Open packs, build your team, and cheer them to victory over other players.
You can't have a list of football games without a FIFA - even if this is one of the weaker additions to the series. Footy goes freemium and deeply social in this polished sports game.
Rumble Stars Soccer has more in common with Clash Royale than FIFA, but we're not complaining. This is a brilliantly tactical online multiplayer kick-around with larger-than-life animal players and sharp presentation.
From the makers of Mucho Party and Lamp and Vamp comes this unlikely mixture of Subbuteo, chess and Rocket League. Swipe your players into position and outscore the (real life) opposition.
Super Soccer Champs 2020
Super Soccer Champs 2020 goes back to the arcade footy greats of the home computer era - think Sensible Soccer and Kick Off. That means intuitive top-down action with hidden layers of depth.
Dream League Soccer 2020
First Touch Games has built a reputation over many years for being one of the best at translating the console footy experience to mobile. Dream League Soccer 18 is another shot on target.
Captain Tsubasa: Dream Team
Footy action and RPG mechanics collide in this quirky take on the beautiful game, which ties in with the popular anime.
A football management game with a major difference, Football Drama focuses on story ahead of tactical machinations, accompanied by highly stylised (and beautiful) graphics.
Football Chairman Pro
Football Chairman Pro takes a further step back from the footy management sub-genre, and places you in the expensive shoes of a club chairman. Hire managers, sanction transfers, upgrade your stadium and more.