Classic Clásico - AFR Voice Ep. 33

As things hot up in title races across the continent, things are getting especially spicy at the top of La Liga. This week we’ll be taking a look at what is being hailed as possibly the finest clásico of the century between Real Madrid and Barcelona, and why despite the result neither team are currently top of the league.

There’s been plenty going on across the Atlantic too, where Jermain Defoe definitely didn’t forget to pack his shooting boots when he got on that plane to Toronto, and David Beckham has released plans for a new stadium in Miami that wouldn’t look out of place in… Portsmouth.

With the World Cup now only 78 days away, there’s one team who couldn’t be much further from Brazil. Infamous for once losing 31-0 to Australia, American Samoa have been propping up the Fifa rankings for some time now, but with an ex-MLS coach now in charge of the side their fortunes are starting to change. The story is told excellently in the forthcoming documentary ‘Next Goal Wins’, which you can get a sneak peak of here.

We’ll also be taking a look at the latest controversy to hit Fifa, where issues surrounding the World Cup bid process continue to rumble on. With the FBI now involved, is the clock now ticking for world football’s governing body, and possibly Qatar 2022?

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A Monument to Losing: The Importance of World Cup Heartbreak

By Zack Goldman

No feeling is more coveted in football than World Cup triumph.

But, is there any one more fascinating—or important—as World Cup heartbreak? 

In any tournament, it’s only natural that the language and tone that we use to discuss the event is elevated and inflated.  This is especially true during the World Cup.  No matter how banal any loss may appear—it’s not just a loss.  It’s billed as a death.

It’s that moment when hearts, full of hope, founder—going down with the wreckage of a cup dream sailing smoothly only breaths earlier.  The moment when thoughts of “oh?” turn to “oh no” and then, emptily, just to “oh.”

That’s not to say achievements in the World Cup are only measured by winning the whole thing—or even winning games at all—but it is to say that there is something deeply sonorous and bleak that comes with being knocked out.

Yet, if one of football—and, indeed, sport’s—truest beauties is that it provides a vehicle for sharing the power of an emotion with others, then the importance of losing is the essence of that virtue more than victory.

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Predicting the future, one match at a time

Clairvoyants have been trying to predict the future with tarot cards for centuries, but this might be the first deck specifically created with football in mind. Want to know if your team will win a match? Curious as to whether your star striker can handle the pressure? Are you worried the Spirit of Pele might favor another team? If so, check out this deck created by Éramos Tantos Studio, a design firm based in Mexico City. 

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Reimagining the World Cup, by James Taylor

The World Cup is quickly approaching, with kick-off in Rio de Janerio less than one hundred days away. That said, there’s still plenty of time to remember and admire the past. In a poster series commemorating previous World Cups, Manhattan-based graphic designer, James Taylor, reimagined posters for each tournament, using era-specific design principles to illustrate the unique style of each World Cup. You can find the whole collection on Pennarello Design[Posted by Maxi

Through Ryu’s Lens: Blues in Black

It was a bright and sunny day in London. A rarity for Chelsea faithful. Matchday was made even better when Mourinho’s men stole 3 points in the dying minutes of the match against Everton. Nevertheless, Ryu brought out his camera and turned the lights down low at Stamford Bridge.

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Adriano Returns - AFR Voice Ep. 28

After two years in the footballing wilderness, hulking Brazilian centre-forward Adriano is back playing football again, representing Atletico Paranaense in the Copa Libertadores. As we tentatively welcome his return to the game, and hope that issues of alcoholism and ‘poor nutrition’ are behind him, we look back on the rise and fall of ‘The Emperor,’ and express regret that he’s not leading the line in the forthcoming World Cup.

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What happens when the money runs out?

"All I can say is I can relate to people now who are struggling financially, struggling to pay the mortgage, struggling to fill the car up with petrol, struggling to pay the bills and everything that goes with it, because I’ve been in that predicament."

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Meet Angelo Trofa, the visionary behind ‘Football Strip Concept Designs’

"The outcome of a geeky obsession that I probably should have grown out of at 15."

From 9 til 5 Angelo Trofa is a designer and in-house illustrator at Mr Porter, an online retail destination dedicated to men’s style. When he’s not at work, Angelo likes to spend his time designing football kits, which led to the birth of the e-magazine Football Strip Concept Designs, which has just released its third volume.

Angelo, like all of us here at AFR is a passionate football fan. Although residing in England, his Italian background and admiration for Baggio made him a big Inter Milan supporter - who are also very slick when it comes to kit designs.

Following the release of his latest work, we were able to catch up with Angelo.

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Luis Suarez: Newsmaker of the year 

By Anthony Lopopolo

A villain makes a story, and Luis Suarez made a lot of them this year. He bit a player on the field – not for the first time! – and months later he travelled to London to accept an award. He got suspended for 10 matches and he still scored more goals than any other player in the Premier League. He thought he could leave Liverpool, only to sign a new contract with them worth £200,000 a week. He is a paradox and he is flawed, and may Luis Suarez never change.

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