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Steven Scragg

Senior Writer

Preben Elkjær: the last of football’s true mavericks

The date is 5 June 1985 and, in Copenhagen, Denmark have just beaten the Soviet Union 4-2 in World Cup qualifying group 6. It’s quite possibly the very plateau above cloud level…

The misrepresentation of Zaire

MWEPU ILUNGA, with an iconic and unexpected break from the Zaire defensive wall, blasted the ball as high up the Parkstadion pitch as he possibly could. A startled Rivellino had to take…

Football in Japan’s incredible city of Nagasaki

THERE IS AN EERIE CALM TO THE CITY OF NAGASAKI, which is difficult to gauge. It is a spellbindingly friendly city, one which is rightly proud of a heritage which stretches back…

Steve McManaman: the man no English export can touch

Illustration by Federico Manasse Steve McManaman: England’s greatest ever footballer? Not the obvious choice, I freely concede, but hear me out before you reach for the pitchforks and flaming torches. I believe…

Gheorghe Hagi: the Maradona of the Carpathians

Illustration by Federico Manasse The Maradona of the Carpathians, Gheorghe Hagi is a complex character. There is a dividing line between the hero of the masses he undoubtedly was in Romania, and…

Jan Ceulemans and the route to Belgium’s greatest

Illustration by Federico Manasse Tall and rangy, socks rolled down, and with a hypnotic control of the ball that seemed at odds with his physicality, Jan Ceulemans was a footballing conundrum that…

The unlikely route to greatness of Bolivia’s Erwin Sánchez

Illustration by Federico Manasse Nicknamed ‘Platini’ due to his skill-infused style of play, Erwin Sánchez was the catalyst for the unexpected Bolivian rise to prominence of the mid-1990s. Along with Venezuela, Bolivia…

Davor Šuker and the art of making scoring look easy

Illustration by Federico Manasse Peter Schmeichel frantically back-peddled as Aljoša Asanović sent a wonderfully precise diagonal pass from his own half, a pass which Davor Šuker, situated on the far left, took…

Six decades of uncertainty for Karlsruher SC

Two years ago, Hamburger SV came within seconds of a very first relegation from the Bundesliga. The Dinosaur, the only club to contest each and every Bundesliga campaign since its inception in…