Fell for the clickbait title, didn’t you? It’s naive to think that players would even have the time to read with World Cup going on, but if you’re a fan, we get it. It’s understandable to want to get an insight into the lives of these legends (with the current results, that’s up for debate. A debate we won’t get into). Here are some reads to discover the players’ journey, celebrate soccer, and help you forget that your favourite players are out of the game.
Cristiano Ronaldo: The Biography by Guillem Balague
Regarded by readers as the best biography of Ronaldo, the book is detailed in its definitive account of the high profile soccer player. Follow the controversial career path from humble origins on Madeira to what continues to drive him today. Especially if you’ve known Ronaldo from Manchester United heydays, this unbiased narrative does not overdo praise but provides an analytical yet engaging recount.
Neymar: The Making of the World’s Greatest New Number 10 by Luca Caioli
Acclaimed as ‘the next Pelé’, you may have heard of Neymar. But scratch beneath the surface to see how the name Neymar first belonged to his father, a soccer player, and how soccer played a dynamic in the family household. Though you read of their struggles, the book gives more than a typical rags-to-riches story by highlighting Brazilian soccer history, and how the culture shapes Brazilians and their way with the ball.
The Flea: The Amazing Story of Leo Messi by Michael Part
If you’re looking for in-depth, this starts with Messi at age 5. You need not be a soccer fan, or even know who Messi is, to enjoy this captivating tale of the boy whom his coach saw as too small, until his brilliant footwork spoke for itself. While the book is meant for young readers, the life lessons in it makes it great for adults too. Emotional, but exciting—an all-round inspiring memoir.
Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football tactics by Jonathan Wilson
Ghost-written autobiographies might not be your thing, so how about a technical evolution of soccer play by a notable British sports journalist? Ever spot patterns in the style of football of certain teams and wondered why they stick to it? By explaining the strategies behind formations, statistics, and the ideologies founded upon, it will change the way you look at future games.
Soccernomics by Simon Kuper
Its updated 2018 edition brings ample new material to this already highly lauded book, looking into FIFA’s corruption, the surge in domestic violence during World Cups, and Western Europe’s unprecedented dominance of global soccer. San Francisco Chronicle called it “the most intelligent book ever written about soccer”, so if you need to impress your peers with your amazing soccer knowledge, this is it.