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Best of the lot.
on 11 October 2013
Due to the success of the Spanish national team and the exploits of arguably the world's two biggest clubs, there have been many books about Spanish football. Sid Lowe's book tops the lot and stands head and shoulders above the rest. But this is far more than just a book about football.....
Football takes a back seat for the first 80 pages, Spain's politics and modern history played a huge role in the identities of both Madrid and Barcelona. This cannot be understated and Lowe does a fantastic job of setting the scene. It was impossible to keep sport and politics apart, both had a major bearing on the dna of these great rivals. Whilst some of the work will be familiar to other books on the same subject, the book has a stronger understanding of the far-reaching influence the clubs possess. Chapter by chapter the history of their rivalry is built (even manufactured at times) and is even-handed in both praise and criticism. Thankully it's only the last few chapters that deal with the current teams, personally I'm rather tired of the question - who is better, Messi or Ronaldo? The book manages to avoid wasting paper gushing over the both of them. No matter how good individuals are, the book illustrates that the club will always be bigger, and rightly so. Personally I found the book contained some wonderful stories and tales especially from Michael Laudrup, Louis Van Gaal and Pedrag Mijatovic. Probably the only criticism I found was that the Bobby Robson era at Barca was largly ignored bar a brief mention.
At over 400 pages you will devour this pretty quickly and by the end will still want more. There are some fine books about the recent Spanish footballing glory but this one is the best. Sid Lowe shows he has more in his locker beyond football.