The tragedy of Robert Enke

Bodo Illgner, Andreas Köpke, Oliver Kahn, Jens Lehmann, Manuel Neuer; the list of Germany’s first-choice goalkeepers over the past three decades reads off like a reel of dynastic succession. Not only is it successively easier on the tongue, it also represents some sort of evolution in the goalkeeping lineage, eventually culminating – for now –…

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The endless evolution of David Villa

Confined to his hospital bed, all he could do was stare helplessly at the television. The faint sound of music was still audible, but the match encompassing his eyes had him transfixed. Memories of freedom and joy would come flooding back, further enraging an angst of all he was missing. He would kick his left…

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Xavi: the humble composer

The expert, the architect, the scientist; the heartbeat, the metronome, the brain. Endless adjectives, analogies and appellations have been summoned by fellow professionals in sincere yet scant attempts to describe exactly what Xavier Hernández was in his prime, the ways in which he kept the beautiful game beautiful, and what unique qualities he spent the…

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Deco: the understated master of his time

“I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible … I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves.” By the time he passed away in 2012, Oscar Niemeyer was one of the greatest architects in world history. The Brazilian’s unique designs, informed by his abhorrence for all things bleak and uniform,…

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Frank Rijkaard: the reluctant one

Delving into the treasure troves of Dutch football’s history is an often emotive and enriching experience. Juxtaposed to the relative mediocrity of the present, the Netherlands’ footballing past showcases a talent pool that ought to be impossible for such a small nation. From the foreign forefathers of Jack Reynolds and Vic Buckingham came the drive…

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