The greatest goal Pelé ever scored

IN RECENT years, the reputation of “football’s greatest-ever player” has been somewhat tarnished, and it is now widely pre-supposed that there’s nothing he won’t lend his name to, whether that’s FIFA’s improbably diverse list of the world’s greatest living players or treatments for erectile dysfunction. David Tryhorn and Ben Nicholas’ new Netflix documentary, simply titled Pelé, […]

Brazil’s 1970 triumph sowed the seeds for the global football market

WHEN Brazil captivated the world in 1970 with their wonderful football and charismatic team of all talents, all 22 members of their squad were playing in Brazil, half coming from São Paulo-based clubs. Of the 22, only one, Jairzinho, went on to play in Europe, and that was towards the end of his career. Others, […]

Commentary Box: The game with thrones – legends and servants

A FRIEND of mine left his job with a major investment bank where he had worked for more than 20 years. He was described as a “great servant” to the company. Given the person in question was earning well north of £ 150,000 per annum, plus considerable benefits, somebody quipped, “best paid bloody servant in history”. […]

Russia 2018 underlines where global power is shifting

WITH Brazil and Uruguay falling at the quarter-final stage, the 2018 World Cup became an all-European affair, not a total surprise, but the old excuse of geographical disadvantage, used for decades to explain early disappearance in the competition by Europeans or Latin Americans, is becoming somewhat outdated Only Brazil and Germany have won the World […]

Guest Slot: Why African football has flopped at the 2018 World Cup

IN 1977, Pelé predicted an African team would win the World Cup before the end of the 20th century. It was and remains a bold prediction: it wasn’t even until the following year that an African country, Tunisia, actually won a match at the tournament. Over the following decade, African football experienced a steady progression, […]