Where Is Football this spring?

With the World Cup less than 100 days away, Brazil is not yet on our minds. A new season has begun, spring, bringing blue skies and greener fields to play the game we love. It’s also the time of year where domestic championships as well as the Champions League comes to life, the make-or-break point in the calendar. Oh, and MLS just started a new chapter.

As the sun starts to shine in London, pre-season begins for many German lower league clubs and the game continues to be played throughout Barcelona, our search for the global game continues.

Wherever you are, whoever you’re watching or whenever you’re playing - get involved in our continuously growing #whereisfootball project. Share your photos of the beautiful game on Instagram by using our #whereisfootball hashtag. Find the game and follow the #WhereIsFootball project here

Don’t watch the game. Feel it. 
Wanderland, Australia. Taken by Oujan Paad.
Share your photos of the beautiful game on Instagram using #whereisfootball and we’ll feature them on @afootballreport.

Don’t watch the game. Feel it.

Wanderland, Australia. Taken by Oujan Paad.

Share your photos of the beautiful game on Instagram using #whereisfootball and we’ll feature them on @afootballreport.

Rest In Peace, Captain

Today Portugal and Benfica bid farewell to one of their greatest captains, Mario Coluna.

Both on and off the field he was an exemplary leader, bursting with energy that a modern day Yaya displays, a passionate competitor, champion and gentleman. Born in Mozambique like his legendary teammate and friend Eusebio, who referred to Mario as his ‘older brother’ and called him ‘sir’, Coluna too is considered a national treasure.

The ‘Sacred Monster’ was a loyal Benfiquista competing in a total of 677 matches, scoring 150 goals and lifting 19 titles, which includes 2 European Cups, as well as losing 3 other finals. He’ll always be remembered as the club’s greatest captain as well as Portugal’s, where he wore the armband in the 1966 World Cup.

Descanse em Paz.

Street Dreaming in Senegal

Whether it’s a city park, a dirt lot or a fenced-in turf field, children across the world spend day after day chasing the same dream to be the next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. But while the quality of the pitch might change from region to region, and while some footballs might be more tattered than others, the same expression of joy is always apparent as kids momentarily transform into their idols once they step onto their local pitch.

Filmmakers Lea Amiel and Nicolas Libersalle recently visited Dakar, the capital of Senegal, to capture an artistic look at a few moments in the lives of the next Iniesta and Didier Drogba. Fair to say they found what they were looking for.

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No need to play on Sunday, Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen already won the Super Bowl.

Welcome to Manchester, Mata
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It’s official. Whether we wanted to see this one happen or not, Juan Mata leaves London for nearly £40m to play for Manchester United. It’s time to forget those two and a half illustrious seasons at The Bridge and set a new stage alight, the Theatre of Dreams. Juan, the audience is all yours.
Art by Dan Leydon. The Mata print is available for purchase here.

Welcome to Manchester, Mata

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In the midst of PSG’s superstar names is an emerging starlet: Adrien Rabiot

By Ross Mackiewicz

Paris Saint-Germain is one of Europe’s most enticing clubs at the moment. The vast array of talent that has arrived at the club over the past-18 months especially has been nothing short of startling for those affiliated with football in France. It is something that they have never witnessed before. The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva being the new darlings for the Parisien faithful would have been nothing but a pipe dream three years ago, yet here they are. Even the emergence of the club from Monte Carlo wooing Radamel Falcao to Ligue 1 may be perceived as money motivated but in terms of luring a player of that calibre to the league, it has only enhanced it.

But in the midst of PSG’s spending and the continuation of a project that is rolling at the speed of a runaway train, there are one or two little gems that have come through the academy. No more so than young central midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

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Gunnar Be Interesting - AFR Voice Ep. 21

It’s a New Year, and with it comes a fresh new show to get 2014 rolling. This week we’ll be delving into some of the Premier League action from the festive season (as there didn’t seem to be a ball kicked anywhere else in Europe), as well as discuss the prospects of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the newest kid on the English top flight’s managerial block, as he dons some leather gloves, hoists his trousers up, and takes the reigns at Cardiff City.

At this time of year it only seems fitting that we also discuss something that has become quintessentially linked with January 1st, and we don’t mean New Year’s resolutions or optimistic gym sign-ups. We’re talking about the January transfer window which has been wrenched WIDE OPEN, and has already started to force the rumour mill into overdrive.

We’ll also be taking a look at Serie A, which returns from Winter hibernation this weekend with a tasty top of the table clash, and play with that hot potato that is the issue of the Winter break (or distinct lack of one on British shores).

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AFR Voice Ep.6 - The Champions League Returns

It’s that time of year again – the nights are drawing in, you’re wrestling with the decision of whether to turn the heating on or not, and it’s once again acceptable to have a piping-hot soup for lunch. This can only mean one thing – the Champions League is back.

In this week’s AFR Voice we’ll be taking a look at the runners and riders, potential dark horses, and favourites for this year’s instalment of Europe’s premier club competition, and why it could be the best Champions League EVER (you heard it here first).

We’ll then be discussing the Rainbow Laces Movement, which aims to change attitudes and make football more gay-friendly, as it looks to tackle what is still a huge taboo in the game and gain traction at clubs around the UK this weekend.

Then it’s onto World Cup qualification heartbreak for Cape Verde, before speaking to ESPN FC and AFR writer Dermot Corrigan in Madrid about Gareth Bale’s debut, Cristiano Ronaldo’s new deal, and what we can expect from Real Sociedad in Europe this season.

As per usual our cover art is made up of our favourite #whereisfootball photo of the week, and this week the honour goes to this sublime snap by Instagram user @aveba in Marseille, France.

Don’t forget to get in touch – tweet us at @AFRvoice or fire some electronic mail our way at afrvoice@gmail.com. You can also find us on iTunes here.

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