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He Writes When He Wants: The Top Three Footballer Autobiographies

September 08, 2015

- Grant Whittington

Aside for a few select, outspoken players, the majority of footballers find themselves silenced during their careers through a lack of communication skills, politics or a fundamental lack of confidence in front of the camera. This does not mean that players do not have anything to say, however, but more that they are unable to articulate this during their careers. This is also underlined by the number of fascinating autobiographies that have gone to print, as former professionals often use literature as a way of sharing their unique story.

So before you head out and buy a selection of autobiographies for bedside reading, here are Bethut’s three favourite books of the modern age…

‘I’m Not Really Here’ by Paul Lake

It is not only the world’s famous players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Roy Keane who have worthwhile stories to share, as some of the best football autobiographies have been penned by relative unknowns. Take the story of former Manchester City player and fledgling England star Paul Lake, for example, whose promising career was ended abruptly by injury at the tender age of 21. A tragic and honest tale, Lake shares his experiences as a forgotten man of football and discusses the mental anguish caused by the abrupt ending of an entire career.

‘El Diego’ by Diego Maradona

Some books require no introduction, and it should come as no surprise that Diego Maradona’s career has been immortalised in print. Reading like a Hollywood blockbuster, it starts with humble beginnings as a boy from Buenos Aries with incredible talent grows into a controversial icon and arguably the greatest player of all time. Detailing his rise through the ranks and emergence as a legend in Barcelona and Napoli, the book is also candid when dealing with Maradona’s drug use and the ultimate decline in his physical well-being. Sad, turbulent, and inspirational in equal measure, it is perhaps the finest book of its kind ever written.

‘Red’ by Gary Neville

OK, so Gary Neville may have been one of the most unpopular players in the history of the EPL, but this shouldn’t distract us from two key facts. Firstly, he was an incredibly driven and successful player who retains the love of Manchester United fans to this day. Secondly, he is one of the most articulate and honest players of his generation and his book delivers the kind of brutal candidness that is all too rare in the modern game. Now a top-level pundit and skilled analyst, Neville’s book is worth a read for any football fan who wants to be treated with genuine respect.

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