A crown for a new king who couldn’t be stopped

He was shoved out. He could have dived. He could have taken the foul and slowed the game down. Instead, he stayed on his feet, knowing more than anyone that nothing could stop him. Gareth Bale stepped up, and now there are no doubts. Madrid will remember this one legendary run for years to come. [Art by Kendall Henderson. Words by Eric]

Dissecting Paulino - Barça’s first and the Philippines’ last goalscoring machine

By Gustavo Gutiérrez-Mercado 

He is, alongside Hidetoshi Nakata and Ji-Sung Park, one of the finest footballers the Far East has given to the world. Chronicles of that time describe him as a skilful forward; thin, but strong-legged. Paulino Alcántara, product of the marriage between a Spanish soldier and a Filipina, was born in Iloilo City, the Philippines, on 1896; two years prior to the independence of the archipelago from Spain and subsequent occupation by the U.S.

Although registers from the era don’t give away a precise date, Alcántara moved to Barcelona alongside his family at the beginning of the 20th century; being that same city where he started and ended his footballing career. But what’s so remarkable about him?

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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

Looking back to look forward: EURO 2012

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Spanish football vs. Fans who watch games illegally

The message from La Liga: When you watch games illegally, you’re hurting your team. In mostly hilarious ways.

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Rayo Vallecano x Sausages and Caviar

Settled in the neighbourhood of Vallecas, Rayo Vallecano is celebrating 90 years of being a proud presence in Madrid that steps far away from the world of Galacticos. After their trip to see Union Berlin’s supporter and club culture, Jason and Kai went to Spain’s capital with help from our friend Dermot Corrigan to discover another loyal, local fanbase.

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Man City’s Empire Expands - AFR Voice Ep. 26

With Patrick from AFR Voice currently travelling through Australia, it was only right we paid an in-depth visit to football down under. Featuring an interview with Football Central AU’s Ahmed Yussuf, we discuss Manchester City’s purchase of Melbourne Heart and look at the eye-wateringly difficult group the national side have to navigate in Brazil – Spain, Holland and Chile. Gulp.

The Spanish national team itself also gets covered as we reflect on the passing of Luis Aragones – the founder of ‘tiki-taka’ football and former Spain coach who turned a group of under-achievers into a beautifully ruthless winning machine. Whilst in the Iberian Peninsula we greet the unusual site of Atletico Madrid at the top of the table and cast our eye over revamp design for the Bernabeu – a futuristic world class facility or a big silver Tupperware depending on how you look at it.

All that plus we herald Libya’s fairytale victory in the African Nations Championships and look on at Leeds United with a mixture of bemusement, fear and intrigue as they get set to be purchased by one of the most unpredictable, impatient and eccentric owners in world football.

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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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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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