An amazing tome on Italian soccer and the first in English that actually explains well why Italians play such defensive-minded soccer. The one point I thought he completely missed was his discussion of foreign players. There was not only an overemphasis on British players but barely nary a mention of modern foreign stars other than Maradona. I would have liked to have heard about Michel Platini, Boniek, Preben Elkjaer's fantastic season at verona when they won the scudetto, Michael Laudrup and even more on the Dutch threesome at Milan.
The corruption in the Italian game explains a lot of how Italian soccer is viewed both by Italians and those outside Italy. The most fascinating read is on the stars pre-TV explosion and to learn who the true heroes were in Italian soccer esp. the whole love him/hate him stuff on Gianni Rivera.
This ranks up there with Morbo (on Spanish soccer), Tor (on German soccer) and Futebol (on Brazilian soccer) as a must-have in any soccer fan's library. Do not be dissuaded by its length, this book flows well and the author is a first-rate writer.
on August 24, 2015
A great insight into the origins and development of Italian football. An addicting read, you will understand why Italy has employed a more defensive style of football and learn about the many many scandals that have plagued all levels of Italian football. Be warned though, after reading it will make you question every game you watch as to whether or not a fix is in!