Juventus, calciopoli and a year in Serie B

The blow, when it came, was devastating. Juventus, one of the world’s grandest football clubs, was plunged into squalor. Two league titles were taken away, obliterated from the record books with stunning rapidity. After 109 years of top flight domination, the Bianconeri were demoted to Serie B, that island of misfit toys and decrepit stadia.…

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Lilian Thuram: the legend who came from nothing

Saying ‘He’s forgotten where he’s from, he’s forgotten his roots’ is perhaps the easiest criticism you can throw at somebody who has gone from having nothing in their childhood to everything a boy dreams of by adulthood. Footballers are used to hearing this, but Lilian Thuram is not. You may find other reasons to criticise him,…

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Why Paul Pogba is the 21st century prototype footballer

Illustration by Luigi Coari Platini, Brady, Baggio, Del Piero, Tevez; all footballers blessed with authenticity and unique personality. Legendary, iconic names, bound together by one common denominator – they were all bestowed with the honour of brandishing the number 10 draped on the famous black and white Juventus shirt. Numbers are a curious thing in sport.…

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The final countdown for Xavi and Pirlo

FOR THE GENERATION OF FOOTBALL FANATICS FROM WHENCE I CAME, the summer of 2015 will be a poignant one. Time, it appears, has flown. Now our idols, those we were besotted by – each of them for very different reasons – are flying the coop. Some of my generation’s earliest moments of self-expression came when imitating…

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