Alex Bellos;
Futebol: Soccer The Brazilian Way

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN-13: 978-0747561798


The English invented the game but soccer’s spiritual home is Brazil. That’s what make this summer’s World Cup finals so exciting.

And the countdown has really started in earnest.

We are now within the final 100 days on the road to Rio. Worryingly much of the stadia and infrastructure is behind schedule. There remain profound worries about security issues too.

FutbolBut the prospect of a soccer fest played to the rhythm and syncopation of the samba beat in the background is as intoxicating as several large Caipirinha’s.

For once England’s expectations are so low but that doesn’t seem to matter quite as much as it did.

The cosmopolitan nature of the Premier League means that as an audience there is a greater understanding and appreciation of the global game and it’s players in this country.

Even the most one eyed patriot will still be intrigued and probably enthralled with what Ronaldo or Lionel Messi get up to as much as whether Daniel Sturridge can gel with Wayne Rooney.

And of course how the Brazilians will cope with the pressure of winning on home soil, an achievement they failed to do in 1954 when they were defeated in the final by Uruguay, will be fascinating to watch.

Since then Brazil have become the undisputed masters of the Copa Mundial – The World Cup – having won the Jules Rimet trophy three times and the subsequent trophy twice .

The Brazilian skill and style known as the Jogo Bonito (The beautiful game) is revered.

To fully understand it and how it evolved from the days of Garrincha and Pele through to Zico and now Neymar then have a read of Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life by Alex Bellos.

It is a wise way to warm up for this summer’s finals.

As Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim says on the cover credits: “It vividly captures the romance and passion that we expect from the Brazilians, as well as entertaining us with tales of their occasional absurdity. Immensely enjoyable.”

He might have added: “Go read it; right now!”

BB Rating: 8.5/10

by Rob Shepherd.


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