Soccer Stories: Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore, and Amazing Feats

Soccer Stories: Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore, and Amazing Feats

Soccer Stories: Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore, and Amazing Feats

Soccer Stories: Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore, and Amazing Feats

Synopsis

Arguably the world's most popular sport, soccer has its own colorful lore, still little known in a nation only now beginning to give the game its due. This book offers the perfect opportunity to catch up on soccer's rich history-and to discover some of the funniest, most ironic, outlandish, and tragic stories ever to come out of the world of sports. Taking readers as far afield as the Faeroe Islands, Thailand, Madagascar, Belarus, Bhutan, and the North Pole, the selections in Soccer Stories range from the strange (Brazilian players paid in cattle by their cash-strapped club) to the wild (the Mexican prison warden who threw open all the cell doors in celebration of a World Cup victory) to the comical (the referee who ejected himself). Here is the plane crash that wiped out the Italian team on the eve of its fifth straight national championship; the spiteful African club that scored 149 goals against itself in one game; and the youngster who banked a shot into the goal off a passing seagull. As lively as it is informative, Soccer Stories will engage fans of all levels.

Excerpt

I like soccer.

That puts me in a highly unexclusive club made up of billions of members spanning the globe, including a mushrooming legion of Americans just as misguided as me. We’re not all on a first-name basis, but once a game starts, we all speak the same language.

I suppose that if your country’s national soccer team is strong, if your country’s national soccer league is rich in tradition and loaded with stars, if you grew up supporting your father’s club like his father before him, you’re likely to find the pull of soccer irresistible, regardless of whether you’ve ever kicked a ball in anger. All of the above will generate not just interest but also passion. And a rivalry—from a pair of neighboring town teams in a Brazilian Amazon backwater to Glasgow’s famous, or infamous, Auld Firm, the bitter meetings of the Roman Catholic–backed Celtic and the Protestant-backed Rangers— can only fan the flames. I recall an acquaintance, an American who during a business trip to Madrid was invited by a local associate to the latest renewal of one of the greatest rivalries of all, Real Madrid versus FC Barcelona. He was taken to Santiago Bernabeu stadium, sat among the capacity crowd of ninety thousand, and experienced the . . .

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