Jon Townsend
Jon Townsend

Senior Writer

A-Z of the 2000s: Paolo Maldini

There’s a reason people who’d seen him play would joke, “If Paolo Maldini was the Minister of Defense, no country would want to attack Italy.”

The perfect harmony of Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit

This feature is part of Duology Football is blessed with a most illustrious history of superb duos that have made their livings creating nothing short of magic on the pitch. One team…

The timeless talents of the complicated Michael Laudrup

Illustration by Federico Manasse The word ‘brilliant’ is overused in talking about football’s greats. But if ever there were a player that encapsulated shades of Johan Cruyff’s technique, the journeyman status of…

Angelos Charisteas: the immortal Greek God of Lisbon

Illustration by Federico Manasse The football world remembers Greece for its stubbornness and industry in Euro 2004. The shrewd, workmanlike effort to shut the game down, preserve a lead, bleed the clock,…

Julian Nagelsmann and the reshaping of football management

This feature is part of The Masterminds FOOTBALL MANAGEMENT IS A RUTHLESS PROFESSION. The prerequisites for managing a professional team in Germany, a country known for producing excellent football, players, coaches and…

Jay-Jay Okocha: so good they named him twice

Illustration by Akinyele Lexain Olalekan IT’S JANUARY 2004 and Bolton Wanderers are playing Aston Villa in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final. In the 80th minute, Bolton are awarded a free-kick…

Why Landon Donovan did more for US soccer than anyone else

The announcement was inevitable. Seeing Landon Donovan score against Bayern Munich in a meaningless game somehow signified a type of finality reserved for movie scripts. When Donovan announced his plans to retire…

Bob Paisley: the gentle giant who couldn’t stop winning

This feature is part of The Masterminds GOOD FOOTBALL TEAMS require direction and leadership. The captain functions as the on-field general, rallying the troops in the heat of competition. The manager is…