Discover your Calcio knowledge and think like an Italian maestro with these 11 books.
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If you had grown up in the 90’s, you would have enjoyed a weekend listening to Channel 4’s Football Italia. Since then, Italian football has remained a romance for many fans.
In modern times, Italy is still home to defensive masterpieces and chess-like tactics — though the days of bolt-through football are over. Recently, Italy played fantastic and flamboyant football, and even this summer, under the leadership of Roberto Mancini, take home the Euro title.
These 12 books were written by authors who discovered something unique and special in Italian society and realized how it translates into their football. After reading this, you may want to book a ticket to Italy to find out what all the fuss is about.
Tim Parks writes with wisdom and realism about his adoptive country, Italy, in a season-long report in which he traveled home and away to support every game in Hellas Verona. The book documents all the highs and lows of a Serie A season that went all the way to the final whistle, while shedding light on the not always beautiful side of Italian fan culture.
The Ultras of Italy are known worldwide as one of the most violent football fans the world has to offer. Tobias Jones digs deep to discover where the political bullying ends and the passion for football begins. In his discovery of the darker side of football, he discusses not only the big clubs like Juventus and Roma, but also smaller ones like Catania and Cosenza.
Calcio (meaning ‘football’ in Italian) is one of the most successful books on Italian football. John Foot is a professor of modern Italian history, so he really knows his onions. Written in the wake of Italy’s victory in the World Cup in which Zinedine Zidane’s swan song received a red card, Calcio tells the humorous story of Italian football from 1890 to the present day.
Irish journalist Paddy Agnew moved to Rome in 1985 in search of Italian football and has lived there ever since, identifying himself so well that he is now a commentator for the national TV station RAI. His fascinating book, Forza Italia, is filled with interesting knowledge from how Berlusconi became owner of AC Milan to prime minister, to how Maradona became the ‘uncrowned king of Naples’.
Joe McGinniss’ classic book follows the small club Castel Di Sangro, ‘a team and a city without aspirations, just a passion for the game’, when they rose to the top of the B series in their first season against seemingly impossible chance. It is described as a modern football story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page.
The Swedish noisy Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s autobiography is fantastic for so many reasons, it’s sometimes about categories. After his idol Ronaldo as one of the few players who was cheeky enough to represent both AC and Inter Milan at the San Siro, Zlatan tells how he managed to win Milan’s Ultras with heart and humor.
Andrea Pirlo is one of the best footballers of his generation, a true master and icon of the game. He was crowned the man of the match in Italy’s victory over the 2006 World Cup in France. The Italian playmaker tells his story in his own words and openly takes the reader behind the scenes at three of Italy’s biggest clubs – Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus.
Carlo Ancelotti has been named one of the most successful executives in recent history. Ancelotti, who is free from contact persons, has led many teams to success and won titles, both within and in European competitions as a player and manager. In his autobiography, Carlo Ancelotti provides leadership and management advice that can be applied in daily life as well as in the field.
Herbie Sykes gives insight into the Italian football dynasty of Juventus that is still owned by the Agnelli family, despite the fact that their name has been synonymous with corruption and match-fixing for 100 years. This book examines the scandalous history of the biggest club in Turin, warts and all.
Legendary Italian player Gianluca Vialli is working with sports writer Gabriele Marcotti to make an analysis of football himself. They compare Italian Calcio with the English game to see what similarities and differences come from the two football-mad countries, and as’ the national stereotypes of Italians as passionate, stylish lotharios and the English as cool-hearted eccentrics still apply when they kick a ball around ? “
Zonal Marking is an incredibly well researched book that takes national football identities apart over the years to see what it has contributed to the modern game. It gives a good analysis of the tactically advanced Italian league in the nineties and how we can still see echoes of it in the game.