50 days. The time nears for the new king’s coronation

50 days until the World Cup kicks off in Sao Paulo. 50 days until the eyes of an entire nation turn towards a single individual. 50 days until the history books are rewritten. 50 days until immortality. [Art by Andy Gellenberg and Tobias Degel. Words by Maxi]

Scythe Matters - AFR Voice Ep.37

Well, it’s been an interesting Easter weekend for David Moyes. First he was stared down by the Grim Reaper at Goodison Park, and now his sacking is confirmed. We’ll be taking a look at what’s gone wrong for the Scotsman, and who the Red Devils can turn to next.

Elsewhere in England, it’s been a big weekend for the Liverpool winning machine which took another big step towards the title, beating Norwich as Chelsea lost a home league game under Jose Mourinho for the first time in 77 games. But what will the ramifications of that result be at both the top and bottom of the table?

Then it’s off to the Continent where Chelsea will have to forget about the weekend very quickly, as they take on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals. We’ll be previewing this game, as well as another huge one across town when Real Madrid take on Bayern Munich in the other last four tie a day later. Strap yourselves in: it’s definitely business time.

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Unlock The Game

Before kickoff, you can find the best in the world here, perfecting every detail of their game. Every freekick. Every dribble. They’ll be ready to counter any attack, and they’ll know where to where to move to find that extra inch of space.

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The Winter Olympics, Empty Stadiums, and the Redrawing of Russian Football History

By Domm Norris

More so than any other nation across Europe, politics is a powerful beast in Russian society, and its influence has had a significant impact upon the way in which football has evolved throughout the post-Soviet era. Recent reports of political strength may have been focused on the Black Sea, but such developments also look set to inflict further lasting damage upon the face of football. Kuban Krasnodar are currently under the spotlight as reports surface of a radical reshaping of football in the city, which is as much about filling expensive voids in far-off locations, as working to protect the future of one of the country’s most beloved clubs.

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The Beautiful Game in Brasil: Photography by Christopher Pillitz

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A crown for a new king who couldn’t be stopped

He was shoved out. He could have dived. He could have taken the foul and slowed the game down. Instead, he stayed on his feet, knowing more than anyone that nothing could stop him. Gareth Bale stepped up, and now there are no doubts. Madrid will remember this one legendary run for years to come. [Art by Kendall Henderson. Words by Eric]

Capturing American Fútbol: From Tijuana to Rio

Four friends of the AFR Team, Pete, Petar, Sam & Austin, have decided to take a trip from Los Angeles to Brazil, and they’ll be capturing everything (North, Central and South) American fútbol along the way. For their first stop on the way to Brazil, they spent a week in Tijuana profiling Los Xolos and their role in changing the perception of the world’s most busiest border town. Find their first dispatch here and follow their journey here.

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Bad Kompany - AFR Voice Ep. 36

On this week’s show we’ll be taking a look at what could be a season-defining win for Liverpool, after they came out on top of a 3-2 Anfield thriller against Man City. Can they really win fourteen games in a row and take the league title, should an unfit Vincent Kompany have played, and what will Fergie make of all this as he sits in the Old Trafford Directors’ box?

Then it’s off to the home of this season’s surprise package in Europe – the Vicente Calderón. After booking their place in the Champions League semi-finals at Barcelona’s expense, we’ll be discussing Atlético Madrid’s modestly assembled squad, a manager that is quickly becoming one of the most highly regarded on the continent, and the use of some cutting edge technology on the touchline (although we’re not quite sure what they’re using it for, just yet).

Elsewhere, we jet off to the end of regular season play in A-League, and catch up with good friend of the show Ahmed Yussuf, who unleashes his inner Craig David to fill us in on the runners and riders in the Finals Series playoffs; as well as giving us all a lesson in geography, timezones and logistics by showing a detailed knowledge of how on earth the Asian Champions League actually works.

Then we head over to Brazil, where it’s been a bit of an up and down time for everyone’s favourite left footed powerhouse – Adriano. It looks like even scoring in the Copa Libertadores isn’t quite enough to keep your job these days…

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96 People

In April 1989, 96 people went to watch a football match and never came home. They went there to see their beloved Liverpool — and, today, a quarter of a century later, before one of the club’s biggest games ever, those fans were honored beautifully.

Afterward, led by their captain, Steven Gerrard — the paragon of loyalty in a sporting era that often rewards money-grabbing and title hunger far more than fidelity to a cause — they won the game, 3-2, and set themselves up for their first league title since 1990.

When the game finished, Gerrard had tears in his eyes — and while some of those were no doubt down to a mixture of relief, exhaustion, and the thrill of victory — a lot of them were down to something more.

Gerrard’s cousin, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, died at the stadium in 1989 when he was only 10. While most of the time we can freely admit that sports are just sports — and the narratives we spin are irrationally inflated to feed our obsession with a game — sometimes they are something way more important than that.

Sometimes, sports say a lot about life and help us heal wounds that we once thought never could even begin to heal — and today was one of those times. #JFT96 [Posted by Zack]

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