The forgotten man: Francisco Pavón at Real Madrid

There was a time when the Galáctico tag had positive connotations in football. Spanish for superstar, a Galáctico was an exciting, all-conquering player that played their part in the construction of a world-class, attacking side. At Real Madrid, club president Florentino Pérez in his first term at the helm was hell-bent on creating his own…

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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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Mauricio Pochettino: the Espanyol diaries

Mauricio Pochettino looked as bemused as anyone. “I don’t know how we did it,” he said. “Espanyol were bottom and Barcelona were top, and all the people were saying Espanyol were dead and had no chance. It was a special victory.” The Argentine coach was discussing his Espanyol side’s 2-1 win at the Camp Nou…

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