The Six Who Could Change Everything

For Issue Two of the superb Rabona Magazine, illustrator Kate Copeland created six masterful portraits of the true playmakers (Neymar, Pogba Götze), engines (Vidal), and potential legends (Ronaldo, Messi) that countries will rely upon throughout an immense month in Brazil.

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A Footballer’s Essentials
Gerrard can’t leave the dressing room without his armband. Zizou hit the pitch in his iconic golden boots. With a minimalist approach, illustrator TheLimeBath captures the essentials that the world’s best footballers need to control the game.
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Find more of The Lime Bath’s work here. Posted by Eric.

A Footballer’s Essentials

Gerrard can’t leave the dressing room without his armband. Zizou hit the pitch in his iconic golden boots. With a minimalist approach, illustrator TheLimeBath captures the essentials that the world’s best footballers need to control the game.

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Looking back to look forward: EURO 2012

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The Holiday Gift Guide for Football Fans
If there’s anything we learned from Arsenal fans after Mesut Özil moved to North London, it’s that buying nice things is the key to happiness. With the holiday season fast approaching, we’re just days away from that time of the year where people rush to malls and shove strangers. As much as you may enjoy that pastime, you could do better than that gift card.
To make the hunt for gifts a bit more digestible, we’ve compiled a list of a few of our favourite things. From art prints to books and gear, if you can’t find a present here, well, you might be tough out of luck.
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Art and Design


Does the fan in your life have a bit of empty space on their walls? If so, an art piece might fit the bill. Thankfully, there are an incredible amount of talented artists who love the beautiful game and make their art available for purchase. From Wong Wong’s World Cup-themed Thirty Two prints to Mark Yesilevskiy’s “Teams, Not Players" series, to Steve Welsh’s “A through Z” collection, Meen Choi’s collected portraits or Dan Leydon’s 1matchaday series, the options are plentiful, no matter what team or player you’re looking for. Also check out…
1. Chinatown Branch’s paintings of Old Trafford
2. Football Type: An in-depth look at typography in football
3. Daniel Nyari’s Neymar Print
4. Stanley Chow’s Scholesy
5. Luke Barclay Design’s World Cup Group Poster
6. DINKIT’s Football Coordinates Prints
7. David Sparshott’s World Cup jerseys
8. Ty Palmer’s Best XI Series
9. 11cannons’ Bergkamp in a Winter Wonderland

Books and Magazines


Is the fan you’re hunting for not an art lover? Do they already have their walls plastered over with David Beckham posters like we do? In that case, going the intellectual route and picking up a few books might not be a bad idea. Amongst our favorites this year were Robert Andrew Powell’s “This Love is Not For Cowards,” which chronicles a season with Ciudad Juarez’ Indios and simultaneously tells the story of modern Mexico, and Chris Anderson’s book, The Numbers Game, which offers an in-depth look at the developing field of statistical analysis in the game. Also check out…
1. Sid Lowe’s Fear and Loathing in La Liga
2. Chuck Korr’s Football v Apartheid
3. David Winner’s Brilliant Orange
4. Joe McGinniss’ The Miracle of Castel di Sangro
5. Eduardo Galeano’s Soccer in Sun and Shadow
6. Guillem Balague’s Messi

Of course, it’s not a bad idea to go the magazine route either. Over the past year or so, a number of grassroots magazines have come to life, each offering a staggering amount of quality content. We’re big fans of Howler, The Blizzard, and Rabona Magazine.

Lifestyle and Gear


Ok, fine. Art doesn’t work, and your target already has a library chock full of textbooks on the 1970 Brazil team and tiki-taka. In that case, awkwardly find out their shirt size, support creative entrepreneurs or order some new gear. Let’s work down the list:
1. The 3nil FC crew and Wunderkind wallet are glorious
2. When your team gets knocked out, support Brazil with this.
3. The LBF Winged Tee will glide you across the pitch
4. Black boots. The Mercurial Vapor IX's do it right.
5. Spain have a nice kit for the World Cup. Clean Sheet Co.’s interpretation is better.
6. The US Soccer Centennial kit. Celebrate 100 years in style.
7. The Brazuca, naturally.
8. The Dos a Cero Scarf from Howler.
9. Modern Anthology’s Foosball Bottle Openers.
If you’re confident, picking up a new jersey is a good shout. Just be sure to do a bit of research on this one, or you might end up giving a Real Madrid jersey to a Barcelona fan. Actually, on second thought, that’s not a bad idea. Just send us the video of your friend’s reaction.

The Philanthropic Option


We’re the first to admit that giving and receiving gifts is a wonderful part of the holiday season, but when you break it down to its core, the holidays are about doing good. Of course, that can accomplished in a variety of ways, and giving a well conceived gift is certainly a good route, but there are few things better than donating time or funds to a charity designed to benefit the less-fortunate. 
And while there are plenty of charities and causes that could use your support, there are a number of soccer-specific groups that are worth taking a look at. Instead of that new jersey, maybe do a solid and donate in your name or a friend’s to any of the following charities:
1. Street Soccer USA, a group using soccer to help the homeless transform their lives
2. Grassroots Soccer. who use the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV.
3. Little Feet, who help develop soccer-based infrastructure around the world
This gift guide is a product of Eric Beard, Maxi Rodriguez, Zack Goldman, Dominic Vieira, and the AFR Voice team wasting way too many hours on the Internet. Did we forget something? Send us your recommendations on Twitter or in the comments.

The Holiday Gift Guide for Football Fans

If there’s anything we learned from Arsenal fans after Mesut Özil moved to North London, it’s that buying nice things is the key to happiness. With the holiday season fast approaching, we’re just days away from that time of the year where people rush to malls and shove strangers. As much as you may enjoy that pastime, you could do better than that gift card.

To make the hunt for gifts a bit more digestible, we’ve compiled a list of a few of our favourite things. From art prints to books and gear, if you can’t find a present here, well, you might be tough out of luck.

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Thought Trails: Team Cristiano or Team Zlatan?

“The World Cup needs Zlatan more than Ronaldo.” - Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Maxi: With less than a year until the World Cup kicks off in Brazil, we’re at a point where, coincidentally, we’re likely to see one of the most anticipated international games until the knockout rounds of the World Cup itself. Ego vs. Ego. World’s Best vs. World’s Best. International icon vs. International icon. Zlatan vs. Cristiano. While corporate sponsors rub their hands wondering whether their horse will make it to the global stage, one can’t help but think that as Zlatan and Cristiano have excelled as individuals, the fortunes of their respective countries have declined. Shame that one of the two will be forced to watch the World Cup as a spectator, no?

Eric: It is a shame. Sure, Portugal isn’t the power it once was and Sweden has never been guaranteed a spot in the World Cup, but they can only blame themselves (and maybe the system, man) for being in this position. But this is the situation, and Portugal and Sweden probably won’t unify within the next six months. The real question we need to face: Would you rather see Zlatan or Cristiano in the World Cup?

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Inside El Clásico

400 million watched, but only for 90 minutes. Even with the excessive coverage from the Spanish press, so much is lost in the build-up to one of the biggest spectacles in world football. With access a reporter could only dream of, FC Barcelona released a video of the scenes before and after the big match at the Camp Nou. The nerves, the fans, the hundreds of cameras, they’re all captured. Watch the full feature here. [Posted by Eric]

The 11 Series by Ty Palmer

Football-inspired artist Ty Palmer recently reached out to AFR to share his latest collection. It’s based on the classic roots of the game, when defenders didn’t wear the number 37 and strikers couldn’t legitimately wear the number 2.

In his words… I felt the need to challenge myself with an illustrated portrait series, so I decided I would create a series of posters of my favorite footballers to wear 1 - 11. This project gained spirit with my work with the futbol artist network. I have loved the beautiful game for as long as I can remember, and I wanted to commemorate the genius of the game. Each poster uses the specific color palette of either the crest or kit of the team to dictate the composition. Mixed in each piece is the respected stadiums of each player, which are lightly ghosted within the work.

From Cruyff to Carlos Alberto, you can view Ty’s full 11 series here. We’ve also featured Ty’s work on AFR as part of the MLS x Futbol Artist Network collaboration for jersey week. Posted by Eric.

Dortmund’s Yellow Wall meets Real Madrid’s Dreams of La Décima

Some of the best fans in the world welcome Real Madrid & their dreams of a 10th Champions League title to Dortmund. As they did for Bayern vs Barça, KICKTV again called on our man Dan Leydon to show what happens when Galacticos face a wall of 70,000 screaming Germans.

"Super Cristiano" by Gonza Rodriguez and Dale con Comba
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The moment for Real Madrid to rise is here. La Decima is close, and Cristiano Ronaldo has been crucial to the club’s Champions League success, snatching one clutch goal after another. The consistency is as impressive as the number of goals being tallied, and now we wait to see if the super number 7 can continue his streak. [This piece was GIF’d by Dale con Comba, and originally featured in the March issue of Argentina’s El Grafico]

"Super Cristiano" by Gonza Rodriguez and Dale con Comba

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