There’s something special about reading a book, whether it be a worn out paperback copy or in your mobile device. Reading is something that I love, and reading soccer books is definitely one of my favorite activities when I want to relax.
Here are three of my favorite soccer books, which if you haven’t already read, I strongly urge you to get you hands on right away.
I am Zlatan by Zlatan Ibrahimovic:
Zlatan is one of the most colorful characters within soccer today. He’s not only a magnificent player and one of the world’s top strikers, he’s also very quick with a smart comment or two when he talks to the media, and he’s never been shy to take a stand. In his book “I am Zlatan” we get to follow Zlatan from his younger years in Rosengård (a suburb of Malmö, Sweden) and the journey he has gone through playing for some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
The book was written with the help of David Lagercrantz, but Zlatan’s language come through in a great way, and you just can’t help but reading the book and hear Zlatan’s voice in your head. He divulges details about how he was as kid getting into trouble in school and how soccer was the one thing that could get him out of the poor neighborhood where he grew up.
I usually don’t like reading a memoir book by a player that is still active, but Zlatan’s charm and storytelling is just too good to pass up, even though I think he will publish another book after he retires. He doesn’t hold anything back and he dishes out a lot of criticism to but Pep Guardiola who was his coach at Barcelona and Hasse Borg who was the general manager at Malmö FF and the one who brokered the deal that took Ibrahimovic from Malmö to Ajax.
It’s a phenomenal read, and it really gives you an insight to the man, the myth, the legend that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Lost Babes – Manchester United and the forgotten victims of Munich by Jeff Connor:
The Manchester United side that legendary Matt Busby coached in the ’50s was one of the best sides in Europe at the time when disaster struck in Munich 1958 when the team’s plane crashed on the runway at Munich Airport.
Jeff Connor’s book chronicles the side and gives us a vivid picture of not only the team and its rise to fame, but also life in England during the ‘50s. He also highlights the dark side of the tragedy and the fact that the team neglected the families that were affected by the tragedy in Munich. Nothing defines Manchester United more as a club than what happened that winter day on Feb. 6 in Munich, and it’s a legacy that will live on forever.
With interviews of relatives to the players that passed away, Connor shows us what the club has done (or haven’t done) since the accident. It’s a highly interesting story and is a must read for any Manchester United fan.
Cantona – The rebel who would be king by Phillipe Auclair.
Eric Cantona is my favorite player of all-time. He was the one player that was larger than life in my eyes and I started wearing my collar up on my jersey just like him, along with several of my friends who also thought that Cantona was the coolest. You can say what you want about the kung-fu kick and his temperament in general, but man was Cantona gifted. He wasn’t the fastest, he wasn’t the strongest, he didn’t have the hardest shot, but he definitely had a gift for reading the play and delivering some magical moments throughout his relatively short career.
Phillipe Auclair did a great job at writing a very compelling biography of Cantona’s career without even speaking to the main subject himself. He has anecdotes from family members, former coaches and teammates to help illustrate the picture of Cantona. He was a free spirit and has always been a rebel. He came to Manchester United on a steal after he had made himself impossible to work with at Leeds, and at United he went on to becoming one of the most beloved players in the history of the club. They still sing songs about him in the stands at Old Trafford to this day.
If you like larger-than-life characters, and have an interest in Premier League history, this is a book you absolutely have to read. You don’t need to be a Manchester United fan to enjoy this book, just a fan of soccer and of excellent writing as Auclair did an excellent job and picked up several prizes for his writing in this book.