The Beautiful Game

The Beautiful Game – A Journey Through Latin American Football

Written by Chris Taylor

The paperback edition was published by Phoenix in 1999, an imprint of Orion Books Ltd.

I decided not to read some of the older books I have on my shelves, I’m really glad I didn’t listen to myself.

This is the best book I have read for some time for many reasons.

Chris Taylor’s writing style welcomes you in and keeps you hooked as he takes you on as the title says ‘A Journey Through Latin American Football’. He could have focused on the big two of Brazil and Argentina but be prepared for a trip into Nigaragua, Chile, Bolivia et al. There is even a section about the South American football scene in London.

As he says early on ‘In most of Latin America, football is one of the foremost expressions of a country’s culture’. ‘The other factor, the passion of the supporters is also relative’.

Where would football be without culture and passion which Latin Americans have in bucketfuls but Chris explains that corruption, economics, money, politics, drugs, racism, the clubs, fans and the fabulous skills of some of the world’s greats have their place.

As in many other places in the world it was the British who brought football to many of these countries and the local have set about creating their own style which has rivalled and often passed the European domination of Football.

The history is inspiring rather than dull and the competition between countries and clubs is expertly covered but it is people that shine through the pages. What is special is that although over 20 years old it is still relevant today.

Chris, a great book, thank you, I hope others will enjoy.

NB. The Beautiful Game (Portugueseo jogo bonito) is a nickname for association football, popular within media and advertising. It was popularised by the Brazilian professional footballer Pelé. Although the exact origin of the phrase is disputed.

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