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White Angels: Beckham, Real Madrid and the New Football [Hardcover]

John Carlin
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 Sep 2004
Beyond race, faith, politics, class, sex or age, football is the great global religion. One of the most striking phenomena of the early 21st century is how the popularity of the game the British invented 150 years ago has exploded, attracting millions of new devotees. Women everywhere are flocking to the game, as are the hitherto pagan peoples of China, Japan and the United States. At the epicenter of this vast but benevolent explosion are David Beckham and the club he joined in 2003, Real Madrid. No athlete in the world - and maybe no single individual - provokes more widespread fascination than the Londoner with the film-star looks. No sports team anywhere exudes more glamour, has won more competitions or possesses a more dazzling collection of superstars than Real Madrid. The fusion of the two has gripped the attention of literally millions of people, changing the face of the world's favourite sport, marking a clear divide between what came before and what will come after; between the Old Football and the New. "White Angels" looks at how David Beckham's transfer took place, the machinations and intrigue behind the deal. It exhaustively details Beckham's first year at Real, and how he fared on the field itself alongside the such global stars as Figo, Zidane, Carlos, Raul and Ronaldo. John Carlin, currently a Spanish resident, has been a foreign correspondent for many British newspapers. A football fanatic, he covered the World Cup in 2002 for the "Observer" and "el Pais". In the writing of this book he has had unprecedented access to the Real Madrid team traveling with them to matches, conducting extensive interviews with the players, its manager Jorge Valdano and its charismatic and driven chairman Florentino Perez.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; 1st Edition Uk edition (20 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074757345X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747573456
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,123,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘The most eagerly awaited title of the autumn' -- Jim White, Daily Telegraph

About the Author

John Carlin has lived in Spain for the last five years. He is half-Spanish, half-British and bilingual. He has worked as a foreign correspondent for The Times, the Independent, the Observer and the Daily Mail in such diverse places as Washington, South Africa and Nicaragua, and in recent years has written extensively on football. He has scripted a Channel Four documentary on Diego Maradona.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book for any Football Fanatic 18 April 2005
White Angels, an autobiography of another sort, takes the reader through the high priced, fast paced world of football. It not only delivers an eyewitness account of the international game, but also delivers it on a club level. The setting is Spain. The club is Real Madrid: the most flashy, prestigious and successful club in the world. The winner of more cups and leagues than any other, it tirelessly documents the arrival of the world's most popular player, David Beckham at the club and the effect he has had on the team, and his adoring public. Carlin has spent years covering the game as both a fan and reporter for tabloids and magazines alike, and it shows in this title. Though highly entertaining, with Carlin adding bits of Spanish and wry English humor where he can, the theme runs well with the title. It documents the White Angels of Real Madrid, through interviews, ever-present rumors in-depth research, and first hand accounts. Carlin does lack in areas, the most present being his depth to each chapter. The chapters are holders of comical names, but some do nothing short of boredom.
Carlin, having spent years covering the game is not perfect in his details. He takes matters that to the college-educated public seem like single page print into lengthy discussions about opinion after opinion. But on the other side of Carlin's flaws is his long list of qualities. He deploys metaphors that bring life to dry details of play-by-plays, and high priced salary discussions. Real Madrid wanted the world's most recognizable player and were ready to pay a fortune to get their man. They couldn't believe their luck when England's Manchester United named their price.
Peanuts, was the only word that came to Jose Angel Sanchez, Real Madrid's exuberant director of marketing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars written in the bernabeau 11 Oct 2006
Admittedly i bought this book without reading the write-up for it, hoping to get a similar type to Jimmy Burns's Barca, which i loved. what i got was a book, filled with detail on the couple of years which the author spent within the confines of Florentino Perez' inner circle, but so biased and awe struck by the players and the senior management that at times i felt ill. A good side the Galacticos were, albeit very briefly, but this book lauds them as if they were on some mystical higher plane. The descriptions of Reals' 6-5 aggregate victory over United rightly hold both games in high esteem, however Real take all the credit for the beautiful football and United are unfairly stereotyped as 1950's English cloggers (Salgado is likened to Garrincha compared to Gary Neville). There are many examples of this bias throughout the work and i get the feeling that the author is more of an awe-struck fan than serious impartial viewer of events which he was so closely and luckily privvy. I dont want to criticise too much because i did find the book entertaining and filled with insight into one of the worlds largest sporting organisations, if only it could have been tempered by an impartial viewpoint.
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