The author of a best-selling biography of Diego Maradona, and similarly widely acclaimed books on FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, digs deep into the roots of the most popular sport, to look at how football played in Spain became the most admired in the world.
From its early beginnings when the first football on the shores of Bilbao and Buenos Aires was played by British sailors and engineers, through to the influx of South American stars, and similarly inspirational Italians, Dutchman and Scandinavians, the author shows how the engagement of foreigners with home-grown Spanish talent overcame political adversity and produced football of sublime skill, passion, and unparalleled entertainment value.
The book takes us on a journey through some of the extraordinary characters, games, and moments that have defined Spanish football from the early days when a few enthusiasts developed their talent kicking a ball around on a piece of industrial waste-ground or beach, to the emergence of rival giants, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid - the most powerful and successful football clubs in the world - and a national team that, encompassing all that was most brilliant in the Spanish League, became the World Champions.
Jimmy Burns is an award-winning journalist and author of seven other books. He was born in Madrid in 1953. He has reported for the Financial Times, London Observer, BBC and the Economist, and was the FT correspondent in South America in the early 80s and his book on Argentina and the Falklands War, The Land that lost its Heroes, won the 1988 Somerset Maugham Award for non-fiction. When not in Spain, or travelling elsewhere, he lives in London.