La Roja by Jimmy Burns
How Soccer Conquered Spain and How Spanish Soccer Conquered the World

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There are very many books on sports, a few of them masterpieces and a larger number extremely bad. "La Roja" is not one of the masterpieces.
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La Roja is bestselling author Jimmy Burns tremendous opus on Spanish soccer. From its early beginnings when the first soccer 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, Burns show how the engagement of foreigners with home-grown Spanish talent overcame political adversity and produced football of sublime skill and passion that intoxicates fans around the world.

The book takes us on a journey through some of the extraordinary characters, classic matches, and brutal controversies that have defined Spanish football from the early days when a few enthusiasts developed their talent kicking a ball on a piece of industrial waste ground, to the emergence of rival giants, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid- the most powerful and successful football clubs in the world- to the Franco regime (that propped up the Madrid team) and democracy (where Barca has ruled), to and a national team that, encompassing all, became the world’s champion.


About Jimmy Burns

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Jimmy Burns was born in Madrid in 1953 of Anglo-Spanish parentage. His mother Mabel is the daughter of the doctor and writer Gregorio Maranon and his father Tom Burns, who died in 1994, was a publisher, journalist and diplomat. A senior writer for The Financial Times, he has also contributed to many other media organizations around the world over the years including the BBC, CNN, National Public Radio, and Fox News. Winner of newspaper awards as an investigative reporter, he has also won the prestigious Somerset Maughan prize for non-fiction with his first book. His previous books are When Beckham Went to Spain: Power, Stardom and Real Madrid (Penguin), The Hand of God: The Life of Diego Maradona (Bloomsbury), Barca: A People's Passion (Bloomsbury), Spain: A Literary Companion (John Murray) and Papa Spy (Quercus). He lives in Spain and London.
Published May 29, 2012 by Nation Books. 386 pages
Genres: History, Sports & Outdoors, Travel. Non-fiction
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Reviewed by Geoffrey Wheatcroft on May 25 2012

There are very many books on sports, a few of them masterpieces and a larger number extremely bad. "La Roja" is not one of the masterpieces.

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