Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja's Historic Treble

BackPage Press
16
Free Sample

This is the story of the greatest achievement in the history of international football.

After decades of failure, Spain won the European Championship in 2008 andthen the World Cup in 2010. At Euro 2012 they became the first team to win three consecutive tournament titles.

Graham Hunter was inside the dressing room as the players celebrated after the finals of the World Cup and Euro 2012. His access-all-areas pass at all three tournaments has resulted in remarkable eyewitness accounts and new interviews with star players and the men behind the scenes. Across every day of La Roja’s treble, the author takes you on to the training ground; on the team bus; into the canteen; inside the hotels and on to the pitch.

You’ll hear the team talks that inspired Spain to victory plus the inside stories from Fernando Torres, Xavi, Iker Casillas, David Villa, Cesc Fàbregas, Andrés Iniesta, Gerard Piqué and the others behind an unprecedented era.
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About the author

Graham Hunter is a journalist of international reputation and covers Spanish football for Sky Sports, the BBC and newspapers and magazines across the world. He writes and interviews for UEFA.COM and has been a TV producer for FIFA.

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Additional information

Publisher
BackPage Press
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Published on
15 Nov 2013
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Pages
300
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ISBN
9781909430136
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Language
English
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Genres
Sports & Recreation / Football
Sports & Recreation / Soccer
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Barcelona and Real Madrid: two of the most powerful
and popular clubs in world football, and one of the world's most bitter
sporting rivalries. Going far beyond the boundaries of just sport alone, this
is a rivalry at the heart of Spanish life, taking in politics and culture and
splitting a country in two.

El Clásico gets to the heart of that rivalry, investigating
the intrigue, the larger-than-life characters, the key flashpoints and their
consequences. From civil war bloodshed to 40 years of fascism and links with
General Franco, the clubs' shared history is the stuff of a Robert Harris novel
and includes: murdered presidents from both clubs, player kidnappings, acts of
hooliganism - and that's before you start thinking of the volatile football matches
themselves.

The book contains numerous interviews with key figures
such as Luís Figo
and Hristo Stoichkov (two of the main hate figures from both clubs), Joan
Laporta (Barcelona's most successful president and, having entered politics,
Catalonian separatism's poster boy) and various ex-players, ex-managers,
agents, referees, hooligans, editors, historians, sociologists, filmmakers,
novelists, photographers, TV presenters and celebrity fans.

The two clubs are packed with international superstar
players - including the world's two best players in Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - and 10 of the
starting 11 players from Spain's 2010 World Cup final victory play with either Barcelona
or Real Madrid.

This is a story
with resonance around the sporting world, with many instantly recognisable figures
to an international audience such as Jose Mourinho. But it is also a tale of a
country divided by a bitter rivalry.
Fernando Torres is one of the hottest properties in world football. From local Madrid idol to Kop hero and European Championship winner, he talks here for the first time about the unique challenges faced in his two seasons in England, with candid snapshots of his early years in Spain and life in the North West on and off the field.

At the age of 25, Spain’s Fernando Torres has already established himself as one of the Liverpool greats and a proud wearer of the fabled No 9 shirt.

His first book, framed within 25 pivotal themes of his life, provides a captivating illustrated story of his career to date, alongside revealing insights into his formative years in Madrid, as a child football prodigy and lifelong fan of local club Atletico.

Nicknamed ‘El Nino’ (The Kid), Torres opens up about life on the streets besides Atletico’s Vicente Calderon stadium, signing for the club at aged 15 and appointed club captain by 19, becoming, as one local journalist put it, ‘one part folk hero, one part native son, one part messiah.’

When Liverpool broke their club transfer record to bring Torres to Anfield in July 2007, it proved the turning point in his career. Competing in the goldfish bowl of the English Premier League, settling into the North West and playing alongside Liverpool heroes like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, in the company of Spanish team-mates Pepe Reina, Xavi Alonso and Albert Rieira, and performing in front of the Kop who quickly adopted him as one of their own – Torres describes what it means to him to play on one of the greatest stages in world football, and compares and contrasts life in Spain with his new career in England.

Away from the football, Torres talks about life out of the spotlight with his family and close friends, and what inspires and motivates him.

Daring, flashy, innovative, volatile—no matter what they call him, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of soccer’s brightest stars. A top-scoring striker and captain of the Swedish national team, he has dominated the world’s most storied teams, including Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, and Paris Saint-Germain. But his life wasn’t always so charmed.
 
Born to Balkan immigrants who divorced when he was a toddler, Zlatan learned self-reliance from his rough-and-tumble neighborhood. While his father, a Bosnian Muslim, drank to forget the war back home, his mother’s household was engulfed in chaos. Soccer was Zlatan’s release. Mixing in street moves and trick plays, Zlatan was a wild talent who rode to practice on stolen bikes and relished showing up the rich kids—opponents and teammates alike. Goal by astonishing goal, the brash young outsider grew into an unlikely prodigy and, by his early twenties, an international phenomenon.
 
Told as only the man himself could tell it, featuring stories of friendships and feuds with the biggest names in the sport, I Am Zlatan is a wrenching, uproarious, and ultimately redemptive tale for underdogs everywhere.

Praise for I Am Zlatan

“Terrific . . . Far more insightful than your typical jock memoir, Ibra’s book tells his story of growing up as the son of immigrants in Sweden and pulls no punches when it comes to his opinions of some of the biggest names in the game.”—Sports Illustrated

“The most compelling autobiography ever to appear under a footballer’s name.”—The Guardian
 
“The story of Zlatan—from his days as an immigrant kid juggling a soccer ball so he won’t get bullied to his emergence as the genius player who scored the greatest goal ever—is as compelling and fancy-footed as his game.”—Aleksandar Hemon, National Book Award finalist and author of The Lazarus Project

“I love this book. I love it because it’s so much bigger than soccer. I Am Zlatan is a story of hope and grit and what an immigrant kid who comes from nothing can accomplish with hard work and belief in himself. It’s also a beautiful window into our new, more open, more diverse world.”—Marcus Samuelsson, bestselling author of Yes, Chef
 
“Probably the bestselling European immigrant’s tale since Zadie Smith’s White Teeth . . . Once you get past the obligatory snigger prompted by the phrase ‘footballer’s autobiography,’ you can see that Zlatan’s book strangely resembles an earlier immigrant’s tale: Portnoy’s Complaint.”—Financial Times

“He is skillful. He is outspoken. He is Zlatan.”—The New York Times
 
“The best sports autobiography in years.”—PolicyMic


From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Blizzard is a quarterly football publication, put together by a cooperative of journalists and authors, its main aim to provide a platform for top-class writers from across the globe to enjoy the space and the freedom to write what they like about the football stories that matter to them.


Contents of Issue Twelve

----------------

The Rivals

----------------
* Sid Lowe, Power Play - Carles Rexach and Jorge Valdano discuss the changing nature of the Real Madrid-Barcelona rivalry

* Miguel Delaney, Gamechanger - Johan Cruyff on his role in creating the style of Barcelona and modern football

* Graham Hunter, An Honourable Man - How Vicente del Bosque overcame rejection by Real Madrid to lead Spain to glory
---------------------------

A Game of Chess

---------------------------
* Philippe Auclair, Beyond the System - Could the lessons of chess show football the way to an exciting new future?   

* Scott Oliver, Play Jazz, not Chess - Reflections on football, order and the imagination, and the need for improvisation
------------

Theory

------------
* Steve Menary, Maximum Opportunity - Was Charles Hughes a long-ball zealot, or pragmatist reacting to necessity?

* Sergio Levinsky, The Cult of the Pibe - Argentina’s love affair with scruffy urchins with feet of gold
---------------------------------

Defenders of the Faith

---------------------------------
* Paul Brown, The Birth of the Fan - Why Victorians flocked to watch 22 men kicking a pig’s bladder about

* James Montague, Jerusalem Syndrome - The mysterious disappearance of Guma Aguiar, the saviour of Beitar Jerusalem

* Brian Homewood, Identity Crisis - Unpicking the convoluted threads of Mexico’s franchise system

* Bartosz Nowicki, Dream Fulfilled - Relief and glee as Cardiff City finally found their way into the Premier League 
--------------------------

Against the Odds

--------------------------

* Robin Bairner, Sleeping Giant - In 1982, Jean-Pierre Adams was given anaesthetic before knee surgery. He hasn’t woken up. 

* Richard Jolly, And Not to Yield - Only one sportsman can match Ryan Giggs for longevity: the New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter

* Javier Sauras and Felix Lill, The Street Dogs of Manila - The Philippines are rising through the rankings, but are they Filipino enough

* Matthew Campelli, Second City Syndrome - Why has Birmingham struggled for football success for 30 years?

---------------

Polemics

---------------
* Alex Keble, Artist or Machine? - An investigation into the paradoxical relationship between sport and creativity

* Tim Vickery, Alternate Title - The lessons sports journalists can draw from the Monkees
---------------

Fiction

---------------
* Iain Macintosh, The Quantum of Bobby - After his exile in Qatar, Bobby Manager returns to English football. Or does he…?
-------------------------

Greatest Games

-------------------------
* Rob Smyth, England 1 West Germany 1* - World Cup semi-final, 4 July 1990, Stadio delle Alpi, Turin
-----------------

Eight Bells

-----------------
* Michael Yokhin, Non-identical twins - A selection of twins who looked the same but played very differently

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