"It’s A Beautiful Game"
As we welcome in 2014, we collaborated with Dan Leydon to take a step back and reflect on the simple joy of kicking a ball.
Paying homage to the wonderful It’s A Magical World comic, Calvin and Hobbes became Carles (Puyol) and Leo (Messi).
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While headlines rightfully focus on revealing FIFA’s 8 circles of corruption or the insanity of footballers begging for an extra £15,000-a-week in wages, it’s important to remember why we love this game. Whether it was staying out to play until the sun disappeared or grabbing a ball with a friend and hitting free kicks in six inches of snow, these are the roots of the game, and they’re worth remembering.
Thank you all for your support in 2013. Here’s to a New Year!

- Eric and the entire AFR Team

Oh, and you should follow Dan Leydon on Twitter & Tumblr.

"It’s A Beautiful Game"

As we welcome in 2014, we collaborated with Dan Leydon to take a step back and reflect on the simple joy of kicking a ball.

Paying homage to the wonderful It’s A Magical World comic, Calvin and Hobbes became Carles (Puyol) and Leo (Messi).

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As close as you can get to tracking Messi
The living legend’s finally showing up for his nation, and Argentina are swiftly on their way to qualifying for the World Cup. This past weekend, Lionel Messi was in fine form as Argentina beat Venezuela 3-0. TV Publica in Argentina had a camera on Leo the whole match, and while it’s not Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, this compilation is just as mesmerizing. [Posted by Eric]

As close as you can get to tracking Messi

The living legend’s finally showing up for his nation, and Argentina are swiftly on their way to qualifying for the World Cup. This past weekend, Lionel Messi was in fine form as Argentina beat Venezuela 3-0. TV Publica in Argentina had a camera on Leo the whole match, and while it’s not Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, this compilation is just as mesmerizing. [Posted by Eric]

The comeback / La remontada

The Copa del Rey was lost. Doubt was rising throughout Europe, but Barça showed us that nothing has changed. Before the match, Piqué said, “Any fan who doesn’t think we can turn it round against Milan should give his ticket for the game to someone who does.” The Camp Nou crowd supported their side all night long. This one was for Tito, and it was a performance for the ages.

[Posted by Eric. Gifs by Dale Con Comba]

'He is like a Playstation player.'  – Arsène Wenger, 2010
Life is impossible to perfectly recreate, and football, restricted by reality, is the same. Video games are simply a reduced reflection of that on which they are based, and can never compete with the real thing – but that’s only obvious. There is only so much that current technology can achieve in taking life and art to the same level. There are only so many fingers on two hands, and only so many buttons and triggers that can be pushed at once. There are only so many different combinations resulting in only so many movements on the screen. A virtual Lionel Messi is good, but he has his limits.
The Messi that scored 91 goals in 2012 , that has won the Ballon d’Or for a fourth time, seemingly has no such limits. Wenger was wrong to compare him to the artificial imitation. The real Messi is far better.
We’re delighted to be working with Matheus, the man behind 8-bit Football, as we head into 2013. Words by Max Grieve.

'He is like a Playstation player.' – Arsène Wenger, 2010

Life is impossible to perfectly recreate, and football, restricted by reality, is the same. Video games are simply a reduced reflection of that on which they are based, and can never compete with the real thing – but that’s only obvious. There is only so much that current technology can achieve in taking life and art to the same level. There are only so many fingers on two hands, and only so many buttons and triggers that can be pushed at once. There are only so many different combinations resulting in only so many movements on the screen. A virtual Lionel Messi is good, but he has his limits.

The Messi that scored 91 goals in 2012 , that has won the Ballon d’Or for a fourth time, seemingly has no such limits. Wenger was wrong to compare him to the artificial imitation. The real Messi is far better.

We’re delighted to be working with Matheus, the man behind 8-bit Football, as we head into 2013. Words by Max Grieve.

A morning like any other, by Dan Leydon
After Messi picked up his fourth consecutive Ballon D’Or, I thought AFR’s audience would appreciate the humour of my take on where he keeps the trophies themselves. I wanted to communicate how unaffected by personal trophies he is. After some deliberation I came to the conclusion that the best way to do this was to show him integrating the pieces into his everyday life. In a way, this mundane task also humanises him.
In reference to the artwork itself, I’ve wanted to do comics that communicate without using speech. Hopefully they are that bit more immersive than my regular work.
We’re delighted to feature Dan’s work on AFR. Find him on: Twitter / Tumblr / Etsy.

A morning like any other, by Dan Leydon

After Messi picked up his fourth consecutive Ballon D’Or, I thought AFR’s audience would appreciate the humour of my take on where he keeps the trophies themselves. I wanted to communicate how unaffected by personal trophies he is. After some deliberation I came to the conclusion that the best way to do this was to show him integrating the pieces into his everyday life. In a way, this mundane task also humanises him.

In reference to the artwork itself, I’ve wanted to do comics that communicate without using speech. Hopefully they are that bit more immersive than my regular work.

We’re delighted to feature Dan’s work on AFR. Find him on: Twitter / Tumblr / Etsy.

Christmas Special - AFR Voice Ep8

With Christmas drawing near, and the European leagues taking a well-earned rest (while the Premier League does quite the opposite), AFR Voice has delved into its sack of festive audio treats to bring you all of the action from the PL and the rest of Europe over the last couple of weeks.

We’ll be taking a good look at all things Premier League, where Marouane Fellaini has been losing his head by using his head, Reading vs Arsenal continues to be possibly the most goal heavy fixture of all time, and QPR get warmed up for a busy January transfer window with their first win in the top flight since what feels like about 1994.

We’ll then be hopping in our sleigh and shooting over to Japan to pick up the pieces from Chelsea’s beating at the hands of Corinthians in the Club World Cup Final, before doubling back to Europe to see why Lionel Messi can’t stop scoring, why Sebastien Giovinco really should be kept on the Juventus bench for the foreseeable future, and why kitchens in Dortmund are soon to be the cleanest on the continent.

As always, you can get in touch with the team by tweeting @AFRvoice or emailing afrvoice@gmail.com. You can also subscribe to AFR Voice on iTunes and find us on Soundcloud.

Neither words nor numbers do him justice. By Dan Leydon
"My thoughts on Messi are probably a lot like everyone else’s; I feel like I’m witnessing something special every time I watch him play. When he was through on goal the other night and then collapsed in a heap clutching his knee I was worried he’d lose some of his ability to a serious injury. But no, he just came back in the next game and scored two ridiculous finishes to break Muller’s goal record and notch 86 goals in a calendar year. Words don’t do him justice. I have a feeling we won’t be able to fully understand the consistency of his genius until he retires."
We’re delighted to feature Dan’s work on AFR. Find him on: Twitter / Tumblr / Etsy.

Neither words nor numbers do him justice. By Dan Leydon

"My thoughts on Messi are probably a lot like everyone else’s; I feel like I’m witnessing something special every time I watch him play. When he was through on goal the other night and then collapsed in a heap clutching his knee I was worried he’d lose some of his ability to a serious injury. But no, he just came back in the next game and scored two ridiculous finishes to break Muller’s goal record and notch 86 goals in a calendar year. Words don’t do him justice. I have a feeling we won’t be able to fully understand the consistency of his genius until he retires."

We’re delighted to feature Dan’s work on AFR. Find him on: Twitter / Tumblr / Etsy.

8 years of Leo

The setting was the panoramic Montjuïchill, which oversees the Catalan capital from dusk til dawn. FC Barcelona, managed by Frank Rijkaard, were beating their hosts and city rivals Espanyol 1-0. In the 82nd minute match goalscorer Deco, jogged to to sideline and hugged a player with a short frame who was wearing the number 30 shirt. The midfield maestro came off for Messi, who in return, was making his first appearance for the club and becoming the second youngest to do so at that time.

In the short space of time, Messi displayed glimpses of magic, always looking to run into empty spaces, a technique he would later master and become renowned for. Following the final whistle, journalists approached the talented but notoriously shy forward, capturing his first words:

"I will remember these 10 minutes for the rest of my life, I am very happy.” 

His first goal arrived 7 and half months later, inside the roaring Camp Nou against Albacete and since then, the boy from Rosario has scored another 264 goals, alongsige zig-zagging through dozens of defenders, breaking numerous records and lifting plenty trophies, all of which are transforming him into one the best footballer’s of all time. Maybe, the best. 

And let’s not forget, Leo is still 25. [DV]

Messi’s hat-trick.

Even while the hype around Euro 2012 was beginning to peak, Lionel Messi still managed to steal the show. In a “friendly” against Brazil in front of over 82,000 outside of New York City, Messi topped off an astounding season with a hat-trick against Argentina’s rivals. Argentina won 4-3 in a thrilling match. While often facing criticism for not playing like he does with Barcelona, Messi scored the first hat-trick for an Argentine playing against Brazil since Jose Sanfilippo in 1959. He ends his 2011/12 season with 82 goals for club and country, with his third and final goal of the day being particularly spectacular. There really are no words to describe this man at the moment; just watch and enjoy.

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