Ryu x Rio - AFR Voice Ep. 41

Over the last few years, AFR has had the great fortune of sharing with you the work of Ryu Voelkel – professional football photographer and host of the Big Lens Fast Shutter podcast. Thank the football gods, he’ll be in Brazil this summer to capture the essence of the beautiful game in his unmistakable style – poetic, poignant and just plain beautiful to look at.

You can own a piece of the action too – Ryu has just embarked on a Kickstarter project. He’s raising funds to produce a photography book showcasing the very best of his snaps from the tournament – from the fruits of his exceptional access metres from the action to the beauty of the Brazilian nation bathing in the ultimate football festival, it’s going to be a stunning souvenir of the 2014 World Cup. Back his project here.

We spoke to Ryu to find out about the inspiration for the project, how funders can get their hands on the book and why the World Cup is the perfect sporting canvas for his talents.

This show also sees us highlight the major absentees and attendees of the World Cup, remember some of the greatest moments of the freshly retired Ryan Giggs and analyse the potential legacy of Arsenal finally ending their trophy drought with a thrilling FA Cup victory.

All that plus, a predictable but unabashed gushing of praise for La Liga victors Atletico Madrid. With such a low budget, small squad and monumental competitors, nothing could possibly overshadow their seismic against-all-odds achievement…except possibly Andrea Pirlo getting very drunk on an open top bus.

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20 Years of Arsenal

There was no better way to finish the season. The trophy drought came to a close, and London turned red for a weekend that millions of Gooners will remember. Arsené lifted the cup once again, and the professor will carry on at the club that he’s built in the 21st century.

However, there was one era that came to a close. For 20 years, Arsenal have been sponsored by Nike. But the FA Cup final was the last match of the Gunners representing the swoosh. To celebrate the partnership with a touch of nostalgia, Nike are releasing a limited edition kit that takes aspects of some of the most iconic designs from the past two decades.

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Milan in Freefall - AFR Voice Ep.32

‘Crisis’ has been the buzzword this season for the pod, with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and even Barcelona getting blasted with the dreaded ‘c’ word. But finally we have turned our audio attentions to a club that deserves it more than most – AC Milan.

The Rossoneri are a shocking 40 points adrift from league leaders Juve and we discuss where it all went wrong. Is rookie manager Clarence Seedorf ripe for the sacking in the summer, and will the struggle for power in the boardroom be resolved anytime soon?

Elsewhere, we look at Europe in more positive tones, heralding Bayern’s 50-game unbeaten run, ruffling the hair of little Lionel Messi for eclipsing recent AFR profilee Paulino Alcántara as Barça’s all-time record scorer, and bow down to the mighty Zlatan for making his own little bit of Parisian history.

All that plus a quick fire witness report from Chelsea’s Champions League clash against Galatasaray, a report on Jermain Defoe’s perfect MLS debut and an evaluation of Rivaldo’s career which came to an end this week. He was arguably one of football’s all-time greats, but why won’t he be remembered as such?

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Through Ryu’s Lens: The North London Derby

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"An Ode to Football" by Musa Okwonga

Commemorating its 150th anniversary, The FA reached out to our friend Musa Okwonga to create a poem that captures England’s love for the game, from a grassroots level to the top flight, embracing the emotions experienced by football fans around the country. Joining Musa in the poem are the likes of Arsene Wenger, Theo Walcott, Dizzee Rascal, and Steven Gerrard. Not bad company to keep.

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Santa’s Sack - AFR Voice Ep. 19

This week’s show sees us a man down - and before you ask, no we haven’t sacked Ben for overseeing a series of poor pod performances (he’ll be back next week), but we will be discussing the goings on of a weekend of boardroom-based carnage in the Premier League. Where did it all go wrong for Andre Villas-Boas and Steve Clarke? Will they be stuck on the managerial merry-go-round for long? And with the January transfer window fast approaching, who’s next to join them?

Then it’s off to Europe’s top table, where we’ll be taking a look at the Champions League draw – the tasty looking match against Man City that Barcelona didn’t want, the prospect of two home games for Didier Drogba, and an Arsenal team looking to make sure we don’t get a sixth straight final that includes either Pep Guardiola or Bayern Munich.

We’re also stopping off in La Liga, where Atletico Madrid are doing everything they can to disrupt the established balance of power, Barcelona have broken yet another record, and Cristiano Ronaldo has now got something that not many players in world football can boast – his own museum.

This week’s feature interview sees us chat to journalist, broadcaster and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague about his new book, simply titled “Messi”. We’ll be talking about how he went about writing a book on the world’s best player, how he managed to speak to Messi’s friends, family and coaches to build a true picture of the man, and what makes the Argentine arguably the greatest player of all time.

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AFC vs LFC by Dan Leydon

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Through Ryu’s Lens: Dortmund comes to London

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