Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Eduardo Galeano, a football lyricist

"In his life a man can change his wife, his political party or his religion but he cannot change his football team."


I was sad to hear of the passing of writer Eduardo Galeano aged 74.

Based on his experiences as fascist dictatorships took power in his native Uruguay (where he was jailed) and then in Argentina, where he had escaped to, the Montividean wrote much pressing journalism, including the seminal study of South America's exploitation, "The Open Veins of Latin America", a book Hugo Chavez famously handed to Barack Obama on camera.

But Galeano also never lost his love of football and penned one of the great soccer books, "Futbol a Sol y Sombra' - "Football in Sun and Shadow"/ "Soccer in Sun and Shadow", a lyrical reflection on a life of love for the Beautiful Game.

This title always crops up on the lists of great football writing and reading it is like an evening spent in the hospitable company of a warm and fascinating man with some fine wine and stimulating reflections and reminiscences.

It is definitively Latin in its writing style and an important part of football's literary canon. He also wrote a book "Su Majestad El Futbol" - "His Majesty the Football" in 1968 and continued to pen journalism on his beloved passion.


"Football is the only religion without atheists."

"Rarely does a fan say, 'My club is playing today.' Instead he says, 'We are playing today.' 

This twelfth man well knows that he is one who blows the winds of fervour that push the ball when it is sleeping, as much as the other eleven players know that playing without fans is like dancing without music."

Eduardo Galeano 1940-2015


(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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