Soccer, the world’s most popular mass spectator sport, gives birth to great achievers on the field of play all the time. While some of them become heroes and stars during their playing career, transforming themselves into national as well as global icons, very few come to be remembered as all-time greats. They leave an enduring legacy and thereby claim to be legends by their own rights. While the rise and achievements of these soccer greats have drawn considerable attention from scholars across the world, their legacies across time and space have mostly been overlooked. This volume intends to reconstruct the significance of the legacies of such great men of world soccer particularly in a globalized world. It will attempt to show that these luminous personalities not only represent their national identity at the global stage, but also highlight the proven role of the players or coaches in projecting a global image, cutting across affiliations of nation, region, class, community, religion, gender and so on. In other words, the true heroes, icons and legends of the world’s most popular sport have always floated at a transnational global space, transcending the limits of space, identity or culture of a nation.
This book was published as a special issue of Soccer and Society.
Table of Contents
1. Prologue Kausik Bandyopadhyay
2. Playing for freedom: Sócrates, futebol-arte and democratic struggle in Brazil Jorge Knijnik
3. Pibes, Cracks and Caudillos: Argentina, the World Cup and identity politics Rwany Sibaja and Charles Parrish
4. The Hand of God, the Hand of the Devil: a sociological interpretation of Maradona’s hand goal Simone Magalhães Britto, Jorge Ventura de Morais and Túlio Velho Barreto
5. Zinedine Zidane’s return to the land of his ancestors: politics, diplomacy or something else? Yvan Gastaut and Steven Apostolov
6. A tale of two Kaisers: Ballack and Beckenbauer, and the battle for legacy Rebecca Chabot
7. Spanish football: from underachievers to world beaters Shakya Mitra
8. Looking at the extraordinary success of the ‘Clockwork Orange’: examining the brilliance of total football played by the Netherlands Ric Jensen
9. Hristo the ‘Terrible’, Stoitchkov the misunderstood: a biographical sketch of Bulgaria’s most famous athlete Steven Apostolov
10. David Beckham’s re-invention of the winger Søren Frank
11. From local heroism to global celebrity stardom: a critical reflection of the social, cultural and political changes in British football culture from the 1950s to the formation of the premier league Mark Turner
12. Iconic figures in African football: from Roger Milla to Didier Drogba Wycliffe W. Simiyu Njororai
13. Flawed heroes and great talents: the challenges associated with framing soccer legends in the NASL Fernando Delgado
14. Why Zico is called the ‘God of Soccer’ in Japan: the legacy of Zico to Japanese soccer Yoshio Takahashi
15. Of magic and mania: reflections on the fan following of Brazilian football and Pelé in Calcutta Souvik Naha
Kausik Bandyopadhyay, an Editor of Soccer & Society, teaches History at West Bengal State University, India. He was a Fellow of the International Olympic Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland. His recent works include Bangladesh Playing: Sport, Culture, Nation (2012) and Scoring Off the Field: Football Culture in Bengal, 1911-80 (2011).