The Chosen Few x Ahmed Mounir

Football fans are known for the seemingly religious devotion with which they support their teams, but a recent a recent project by Egyptian graphic designer Ahmed Mounir takes that notion and runs with it. Selecting a number of the most prominent modern footballers, Mounir depicts them in a way that evokes classic religious symbolism, recalling the way in which Saints are often illustrated and revered. The collection is gorgeous, and was created in anticipation of next year’s Football Film Festival in Paris. Check out the rest of Ahmed’s work here[Posted by Maxi

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

Thirty Two by Wong Wong

In a week, the 32 nations playing in the World Cup will be set in stone. To commemorate the 2014 tournament in Brazil and each one of the Thirty Two, Wong Wong reinterpreted the 32 flags of the participating teams and created a collection of art prints, which you can find at Form and Glory. Glorious.

Metegol and going outside the film industry’s status quo

Hollywood rules the film industry. It is the place for actors and actresses to be if they want to become world stars. It also happens to be the center of not only traditional film, but its animated cousin as well. Companies like Pixar and DreamWorks form the bedrock of the medium. Outside of the Hollywood spotlight, the probability for animated films to garner worldwide acclaim decreases drastically. However, a new kid on the block could be set to change that. That’s according to The New Yorker’s Ian Mount at least, who wrote an article about the challenger earlier this week. Argentina is an unlikely point of origin, but it perhaps comes as no surprise that a movie with the chance to break the status quo has football as its core element.

Metegol (Foosball in English) was directed by Oscar Winner Juan Jose Campanella (El Secreto De Sus Ojos) and has as its protagonists a young bookworm and the sentient foosball figures who help him on his quest to thwart a rival’s devious scheme and – of course – attract the attention of his childhood sweetheart.

Based on the short story Memorias de un wing derecho (Memoirs of a Right Winger), Metegol was made on the fraction of the budget usually associated with its Hollywood counterparts, but still stands as the most expensive Argentina film ever made. It achieved widespread success in its home country, and a strong showing at the Toronto International Film festival precipitated a journey to see the wider world. Distribution rights have already been snatched up for Russia, China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East – just to name a few places. Will the beautiful game be the catalyst for a momentous moment in the history of this corner of the film industry? [Posted by Gordon]

Argentina’s Biggest Derby, in the heart of Brazil

More than 4000 km from the epicenter of Argentinean football, Buenos Aires, a seasoned rivalry is gaining new expression in the small Brazilian state of Sergipe, where the tradition of naming new clubs has been taken to an unexpected extreme.

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Javier Zanetti marches on in Inter’s darkest hour

By Gary Armstrong

The legends are leaving in droves. Owen. Scholes. Van Bommel. Metzelder. Carragher. Beckham. But at the age of 39, the career of Javier Zanetti goes on, despite a ruptured achilles tendon.
Vastly under-appreciated on British shores, Javier Zanetti is rightly acclaimed for his contribution to Inter and Italian football since his arrival from Argentina in 1995. Underlining the full back’s unquestionable spirit and love for the game, Zanetti – Inter’s record appearance holder having played in 847 matches – has vowed to pull on the famous black and blue jersey once more at the age of 40 and to return from an injury that is likely to see him spend 6 months on the sidelines at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
Inter, embroiled in what is arguably their greatest crisis of the last 20 years, need their talismanic full-back now more so than ever before. An abominable record has seen the Nerazzuri slump to a lowly 9th place finish, which is their lowest in Serie A since the their ill-fated season of 1993/94. It’s also the first time that they have not qualified for European competition since 92/93. Meanwhile, old adversaries Milan, and in particular Juventus, appear to be going from strength to strength, leading the Italian game while Internazionale trail in their wake, several positions beneath them.
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All eyes will be on club president Massimo Moratti in the coming weeks, in anticipation of the removal of manager Andrea Stramaccioni. Such a move would represent the fifth occasion that Moratti has wielded the axe on his managerial team in the post-Mourinho era. Moratti has moved to fend off speculation about the future of his coach in recent weeks, stating his preference to settle such matters at the close of the season. Given Moratti’s recent trigger-happy attitude to firing previous incumbents in the Giuseppe Meazza dugout, coupled with the abysmal league form that Inter have shown in the second half of the season, it would be no surprise to see Stramaccioni, who at 37 years old is 2 years younger than Zanetti, shuffled out of the Internazionale exit door. Resultantly, Zanetti, aided by a few experienced colleagues, will be left to pick up the pieces from another dramatic episode at the San Siro and attempt to rebuild the club once more. 
Buenos Aires born and bred, Javier Zanetti began his footballing career in his homeland, making his debut with lower league side Talleres aged 19. Twenty years later, having spent the majority of his career in Italy, Zanetti can boast a personal trophy cabinet which includes winners medals for 5 Serie A titles, 4 Coppa Italias, 1 Champions League, 1 UEFA Cup and 1 World Club Cup. 
On the international front, Zanetti has appeared for his national team on 145 separate occasions, the last of which came in 2011, including appearances in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups. Controversially, Zanetti was excluded from the Argentine World Cup squads of 2006 and 2010 by managers Jose Peckerman and Diego Maradona respectively. In spite of these arguably inexplicable omissions, Zanetti is Argentina’s record cap holder, having played 30 games more than nearest challenger to the throne Roberto Ayala and is also 14th on the list of all-time highest international cap earners in World football. It is easy to hypothesize about what could have been for Zanetti and his nation had both Peckerman and Maradona not overlooked his seemingly obvious talent.
Zanetti’s inclusion in Pelé’s ‘Fifa 100’ list of the game’s greatest living footballers is yet another testament to the Argentine’s incredible career. How those at Independiente must now wince at their decision to disregard a 15 year old Zanetti on their belief that the youngster was far too small to make the grade in the professional game.
What the 5 foot 10 inch Zanetti may lack in physical stature, he has certainly made up for in terms of spirit, determination and stamina, qualities that earned him the nickname “El Tractor” in Argentina on account of his trademark lung-bursting runs up and down the right wing. In Italy, Zanetti has not only gained plaudits and the admiration of the Internazionale faithful for his energy and longevity at the heart of the Neazzuri defence, but also for his dependability and leadership qualities which have transcended across an incredible 15 different managerial teams in the Inter dugout and hundreds of team-mates including former World Player of the Year winners Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Fabio Cannavaro.
Zanetti in fact represents the bridge between countless Inter generations, the one constant within the walls of the Giueseppe Meazza who has seen it all, in the process witnessing so many exasperating Milan derby defeats and yet so many moments of euphoria and elation upon getting one over their neighbours and fierce city rivals. In many regards, Javier Zanetti is Mr Internazionale.
However, Zanetti is far more than just the representation of his rusty dressing room peg and his worn out black and blue shirt. At the age of 39, on the training ground, on the pitch and on the ball, Zanetti still oozes quality and the technical proficiency that forced the Inter Directors of 1995 to pluck the youngster from relative obscurity in South America. Like his British-based peer Ryan Giggs, Zanetti may have lost a yard or two of pace in recent years, but he certainly hasn’t lost the natural ability that makes team-mates 20 years his junior stand back and look on in awe. As the old footballing cliché alludes to, class is very much permanent and no more so than in the case of Javier Zanetti.
Many admiring and heart-felt quotes on the career and contributions of Javier Zanetti have circulated around the footballing globe in the past decade, yet for Inter fans perhaps the most poignant words are the ones spoken by the man they refer to as “Il Capitano” prior to his 600th Serie A appearance in March of this year: 
“I am proud to be part of this great family that is Inter.”
The thousands of Inter fans who have watched Javier Zanetti from the steep stands of the San Siro throughout the past three decades will be praying that an integral member of the Inter family makes a full and speedy recovery and that once more they can witness their favourite adopted son burst up the right flank in the black and blue of Internazionale. The club will certainly need a leader going forward.

This post was written by Gary Armstrong. Comments below please.

Javier Zanetti marches on in Inter’s darkest hour

By Gary Armstrong

The legends are leaving in droves. Owen. Scholes. Van Bommel. Metzelder. Carragher. Beckham. But at the age of 39, the career of Javier Zanetti goes on, despite a ruptured achilles tendon.

Vastly under-appreciated on British shores, Javier Zanetti is rightly acclaimed for his contribution to Inter and Italian football since his arrival from Argentina in 1995. Underlining the full back’s unquestionable spirit and love for the game, Zanetti – Inter’s record appearance holder having played in 847 matches – has vowed to pull on the famous black and blue jersey once more at the age of 40 and to return from an injury that is likely to see him spend 6 months on the sidelines at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

Inter, embroiled in what is arguably their greatest crisis of the last 20 years, need their talismanic full-back now more so than ever before. An abominable record has seen the Nerazzuri slump to a lowly 9th place finish, which is their lowest in Serie A since the their ill-fated season of 1993/94. It’s also the first time that they have not qualified for European competition since 92/93. Meanwhile, old adversaries Milan, and in particular Juventus, appear to be going from strength to strength, leading the Italian game while Internazionale trail in their wake, several positions beneath them.

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The best fans in the world

Found in Buenos Aires. End of discussion.

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