1. Morbo: The Story Of Spanish Football - Phil Ball
This is probably the best book ever written on Spanish football in English and is as much entertaining as informative. In this book legendary Spanish football writer Phil Ball explains football in the Iberian nation just as he sees and feels it, merging history and facts with his very own personal perception and reflections. Morbo is not a very easy word to translate but in this book Ball tries to do that and much more. Ball’s work centres on the famous rivalries among Spanish clubs and he paints a vivid and scintillating picture of Spanish football, covering the various rivalries and the cultural, social and political factors that segregate Spain and Spanish football. Morbo dispels several myths about Spanish football that a casual football fan may have embedded in himself and would make the reader fall in love with the Spanish game.
2. Football In Sun And Shadow - Eduardo Galeano
Football is often said to be poetry in motion and in *Football In Sun And Shadow *Eduardo Galeano captures the poetry of football in his own special poetics. The book is basically a study of the history of the beautiful game but instead of becoming a chronologically boring study of the game it takes on a new hue and expresses football in a poetic form. Galeano expresses his views and opinions about the game in excellent and beautiful language that borders on the ethereal. The Uruguayan writer’s comparisons are as much apt as hugely enlightening as he gives his own perspective and makes football appear more than a game played by 22 people on the pitch.
3. Forza Italia: The Fall And Rise Of Italian Football - Paddy Agnew
Paddy Agnew came to Italy in the 1980s from Ireland with his partner to seek adventure and work in football and in the Vatican. He didn’t know the language and faced difficulties in settling in a foreign country initially but before long he had mastered the Italian language and became an expert in Italian football. *Forza Italia: The Fall And Rise Of Italian Football *is a product of Agnew’s love and understanding of the Italian game after staying in the peninsula for over 20 years. Agnew’s crisp clear prose makes the book a delightful read and his personal reflections on various top Italian stories over the years makes the reader perceive the Italian game from a very close distance and understand Italian football through the prism of the country’s culture and politics.
4. The Hand Of God: The Life Of Diego Maradona - Jimmy Burns
This is an unauthorized biography of the man many believe to be best ever football player who himself doesn’t recognize this book, but still Jimmy Burns’s *The Hand Of God: The Life Of Diego Maradona ‘‘is a fascinating read about a paradox. Unlike several books on ‘‘El Diego’’, ‘‘The Hand of God’’ is not a clear-cut tribute to the man with a very lenient approach to the man’s faiings as a footballer, but is a study of what made Maradona ‘‘Maradona’’. Burns’s thorough research and contacts in the inner circles of Maradona give him an unique edge in that he is able to show the real man behind the footballer. Burns is exceptionally critical of his object and the book appears to highlight Maradona’s footballing achievement less and pays attention more to his personal relationships and characteristics. For anyone who wants to view Maradona from a different and more neutral angle, Jummy Burns’s ‘‘The Hand of God *is a must read.
5. A Season With Verona - Tim Parks
Initially a Manchester United fan, Tim Parks became a life-long supporter of Italian side Hellas Verona and in this book that love finds its vent. *A Season With Verona *chronicles the club’s last season in the Serie A was they suffered relegation to the Serie B and portrays the author’s as well his fellow Verona supporters’ emotions in what was a roller-coaster season. Tim Parks travels with Verona to all parts of Italy to watch his team play and recounts those stories in this book in a very lucid and smooth prose.