Best Football Books of All Time

Tue 20 April 2021 | 16:30

Experts are predicting it could take a long time before life returns to normal amid the coronavirus crisis. Fortunately, those who are not playing or watching the beautiful game can read about it. Read on to find out more about the best football books of all time.

Among the things which can amaze us significantly in the world, books are a very notable item. They can make you feel as if you are another person, they are able to take you to the places you have never been in, and they enable you to have a chance of experiencing a life you will never have.

Through reading books, no matter whether they are about science, sports, romance, or education, you are going through the writer’s thoughts, imaginations, ideas, or real life experiences. You can develop your own ideas with the help of the inspiration you get from reading, furthermore, you can learn from the authors’ mistakes.

On the other hand, realizing what well-known people have done to reach their success and attempting to repeat their deeds is something of great value. Like almost every subject, there are plenty of books about football, many of which written by famous football players and coaches who decided to share their biography and experiences with football lovers, and many others written by football experts who devoted their lives not to playing it, but to research about it and analyzing different aspects of the beautiful sport.

Not surprisingly, many of the international bestsellers and the

best football books of all time

are the ones written by prominent soccer players and coaches, which are mainly their biography, and a huge number of greatest football books of all time have been written by football researchers, who may never have touched a ball with their feet in their life, but understand the sport better than anybody else. 

Best Football Books of All Time:

In the following article, we provide a list of some of the greatest soccer books ever, giving a brief overview of each of them.

Soccer Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper

For many football fans, it is not just a sport in which 22 persons are running after a ball, but it is a matter of life and death. The writer of this highly successful book which is regarded as one of the best football books of all time has travelled to twenty two countries to examine the impacts of football on different aspects of the society such as culture and politics.

During his journey around the world from South America to U.S.A, from Russia to Italy, he has met a great number of players, fans, and politicians, all of whom describing the role of football in their life and in the world in their unique way, talking about the frightening point where football intersects with politics, and even fans saying their opinions about their local teams' tactics.

In his book, Kuper tries to demonstrate football as a medium through which the people's hopes, wishes, fears, and passions are expressed. This popular sport has boundaries beyond those white lines on the green pitch, some uncharted and unexplored limits as vast as our universe. To summarize the point, the book is a masterpiece and astounding study of football, and more importantly, its position in other dimensions of the world.

Simon Barnes, a writer of Times, has once said about this book," If you like football, read it. If you don't like football, read it." The quote seems to contain all of our unsaid words about this book, which is commonly known as one of the

best soccer books to read

, and has been translated to a variety of languages.

Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography

Sir Alex Ferguson is widely regarded as the best manager in the history of British football. He was

Manchester United

's manager for 27 years, and won numerous achievements with the Red Devils. Within these 27 years, he worked with a great number of players, from Ryan Giggs and Eric Cantona to

Cristiano Ronaldo

and Robin Van Persie.

He created a purposeful and welcoming culture at the club, and his legacy has remained at Old Trafford after he left the manager position in 2013, after winning the

Premier League

title with Manchester United for the last time to this day.

In his autobiography, Sir Alex Ferguson narrates the enormous changes he has seen which led to the amazing growth of the club as seen through his eye holes. He clearly shares his emotions and the incidents happening while saying farewells to Roy Keane and David Beckham, building a new Champions League winner team with Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, and discusses their rivalries with Arsenal,




, and

Manchester City


He reveals many unspoken happening at the dressing room, many talks and argues with different players that intrigue every reader that has the slightest familiarity with Manchester United players.

Moreover, Sir Alex states his thoughts on management psychology, his drives, passions, and interests both inside and outside of the game. The book is a must-read for every football fan all around the world, and is truly one of the

best football books of all time


Soccernomics by Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski

Another book by Simon Kuper, this time with the help of Stefan Szymanski, which is worthy to be put in the list of best soccer books to read. Simon Kuper is undoubtedly one of the world's leading writer's on soccer, and Stefan Szymanski is the Stephen J. Galetti Professor of Sport Management at the University of Michigan.

The book takes a look at football's everyday issues from the point of view of an economist. Why does England lose? Why doesn’t America dominate the sport internationally... and why do the Germans play with such an efficient but robotic style? Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the Japan, Australia, Turkey -- and Even Iraq -- are destined to become the kings of the world's most popular sport?

Soccernomics answers these questions, using analogies and insights from economics, psychology, and statistics. Moreover, the book sheds light of surprisingly misconceptions that exist among the fans, and reveals some less-known truths about the sport. The book is unquestionably one of the best football books of all time that every soccer fan should read.

Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics by Jonathan Wilson

There are a wide range of different tactics, systems, and strategies to play football, and they have not always been the way they are today.

Tactics have evolved, and the game's evolution has occurred because of some genius coaches that have spread their knowledge around the world, and their tactics become a part of the game. The book is a vast chronicle of how these interesting figures- innovative coaches- have made new strategies, made them more advanced, and how these strategies have affected modern football.

Jonathan Wilson's brilliantly writes about how the South Americans has added their finesse to make the game a lot more beautiful, how the Europeans controlled these individual techniques and set the " team play" as the priority, and how a tactic in which 5 forwards went to the field simultaneously was not uncommon and now many teams tend to play with only one striker.

Furthermore, the books provides very interesting information about how modern-day Barcelona style of play, which is based on retaining ball possession, has developed from the Dutch "Total Football", which itself was an evolution of the Scottish passing game created by Queens Park in the 1870s.

The book is indubitably one of the

best football books of all time

, and it is strongly recommended for every football fan, coach, and player.

The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer by David Godblatt

Football is a global cultural practice, maybe the best of them. The rules of marriage, birth, and almost everything are diverse in different parts of the world, but football with all of its rules is the same in every village and city of every country on this planet.

In his brilliant work, David Godblatt narrates the full story of football's history, from being a chaotic folk ritual to becoming the world's most popular sport. He provides a detailed history of soccer, points to some of the most memorable matches of all time, and talks about the world's most well-known footballing nations.

The Ball is Round is one of the biggest and best soccer books to read by having over 900 pages. The book's most interesting features is that the author travelled around the world to write this book in great detail- as it is obvious from its number of pages- and it attracts every football fan to read it completely.

The book clearly suggests that although football has found a way into politics and has played a role in social and cultural matters, it has never lost the beauty, joy and excitement which has always exist within its concept.

My Turn: The Autobiography by Johan Cruyff

Johan Cruyff's autobiography is one of the best football books of all time in many football lovers' opinion. Johan Cruyff is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of football.

He was synonymous with Dutch "Total Football" which he used when he became FC Barcelona manager. With this style of play, in which any player could play in any position on the field and the team should keep the possession of the ball as much as possible, Barcelona started a new era, and won the European Cup for the first time with Johan Cruyff as the manager.

His philosophy is currently dominant in many European clubs, especially in




, the two clubs of which he is a symbol. In his autobiography, Cruyff talks about his start at Ajax, where he achieved numerous glorious trophies before moving to Barcelona and rewriting their history, and being named the European Football of the Year in 1973.

Winning the Ballon d'Or on 3 occasions and taking the

Dutch national team

to the final match of 1974 World Cup are discussed in his interesting book. Moreover, beside inside-of-the-field topic and his association with Total Football, Cruyff also talks about his life outside of the football, which was tempestuous and filled with chaos due to a kidnapping attempt and bankruptcy.

Furthermore, the Dutch legend also talks about his retiring in 1984, becoming Ajax and Barcelona's manager, and being the architect of Barcelona's golden era by reviving Total Football.

Cruyff was named the European footballer of the century in 1999, and stood second behind Pele in a poll about the best player of the century. If you love football, this book, which is one of the

greatest football books of all time

, is highly recommended to you.

I am Zlatan: My Story On and Off the Field by David Lagercrantz & Zlatan Ibrahimovic

A book written by one of the most special players in the history of the sport, by a player who refuses to take a testing training session at


at the age of 17, and said "Zlatan never takes tests", this book, is one of the best soccer books to read for every football fan.


has been one of the best players in the world in recent years, and has played for a number of biggest European clubs. However, the things have not always been so charming in his life. He was born in a Balkan family, who divorced when Zlatan was a toddler.

From a very young age, Zlatan learned to rely only on himself, given the fact that he was living in a rough neighborhood. While his father was a Bosnian alcoholic trying to forget the war back home, Zlatan's redemption was a sport called football.

He had a natural talent to be the Zlatan we know of him. Astonishing goals, one after another, showed the world the young Swedish Genius. In his book, Zlatan narrates feuds, friendships, and so many other surprising and untold stories which only Zlatan himself could tell them.

The book is praised a lot, such as the way The Guardian describes it as "The most compelling autobiography ever to appear under a footballer’s name" and Sports Illustrated says "Terrific . . . Far more insightful than your typical jock memoir, Ibra’s book tells his story of growing up as the son of immigrants in Sweden and pulls no punches when it comes to his opinions of some of the biggest names in the game."

The book is undoubtedly one of the best football books of all time and is suggest that every football fan must read it at least once in a life time.

WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game by Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach is regarded as one of the best women football players in history. She has won 2 Olympics Gold medals and 1 FIFA World Cup with the U.S. national team.

Moreover, Wambach has been named the U.S. Women's Soccer Player of the Year on 6 occasions, and was named FIFA Women's World Player of the Year in 2010. This was only a glimpse of this book's writer's exhilarating career.

She proved herself to be a wise, honorable, and committed leader as a captain of a football team, and after her retirement, she was ready to be a leader for her new team: the women all over the world. In her book, Wambach urges all women to let go of the old regulation and rules of leadership that neither include nor serve them.

In her words, she creates a new set of Wolfpack rules to help women unleash their individual power, unite with their wolfpack and change their perspective in life. His message for women is:

We have never been Little Red Riding Hood. We Are the Wolves.

We must wander off the path and blaze a new one: together.

Regarded as one of the best football books of all time, Wolfpack is a must-read for every football fan especially women.

The book helps everybody to turn failure into their fuel, to lead from wherever you are standing, and to learn no to ask for permission and take what you have earned. From her point of view, we must fight for a better tomorrow for ourselves, and our pack, not staying in the path where we have always been and assumed is the right way.

How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, by Franklin Foer

One of the best football books of all time is How Soccer Explains the World written by Franklin Foer. In his book, Foer discusses how football and economy are interrelated.

The reader travels to different stadiums all over the world and see new insights on the impacts of economics and political issues on their favorite sport.

Football has lots of different hidden aspects beside the obvious sorrows and joys of the fans, and How Soccer Explains the World's main aim is to shed light on the commonly less-noticed issues with respect to football, such as the clash of civilizations, international economy, and everything which may seem less important, but play the pivotal role in modern football.

The book has achieved lots of compliments from different critics, such as the New York Times book review's "An eccentric, fascinating exposé of a world most of us know nothing about."

And the Wall Street Journal's admiration, "An insightful, entertaining, brainiac sports road trip". This book is perfect for football lovers and the ones who are interested in knowing about the side aspects of their popular sport, and is unquestionably one of the

greatest soccer books ever


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source: SportMob