Best Football Autobiographies

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best soccer coaching books

I Am Zlatan: My Story On and Off the Field

Born to Balkan immigrants who divorced when he was a toddler, Zlatan learned self-reliance from his rough-and-tumble neighborhood. While his father, a Bosnian Muslim, drank to forget the war back home, his mother’s household was engulfed in chaos. Soccer was Zlatan’s release. Mixing in street moves and trick plays, Zlatan was a wild talent who rode to practice on stolen bikes and relished showing up the rich kids—opponents and teammates alike. Goal by astonishing goal, the brash young outsider grew into an unlikely prodigy and, by his early twenties, an international phenomenon.

Told as only the man himself could tell it, featuring stories of friendships and feuds with the biggest names in the sport, I Am Zlatan is a wrenching, uproarious, and ultimately redemptive tale for underdogs everywhere.

“The most compelling autobiography ever to appear under a footballer’s name.”The Guardian

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Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography

Another must read book whether you love him or hate him. Sir Alex’s account of his time at United provides for a compelling read as he churned out title winning teams one after the other. Over the years Ferguson has made friends and enemies and the book (although biased) takes the reader through all the backstories which might have evaded the newspaper. Must read!

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I Think Therefore I Play- Andrea Pirlo

Pirlo’s profile could not be much higher, having competed in the Champions League final in May 2015 and then embarking on a new career signing with MLS side New York City FC in July 2015. The vibrancy, humor and vivid insight that carry Pirlo’s autobiography along confounds his image as a dead-eyed assassin on the field of play. All the big names are in there: Lippi, Ancelotti, Conte, Maldini, Shevchenko, Seedorf, Buffon, Kaka, Nesta, Costacurta, Gattuso, Berlusconi and Ronaldo (“the real one”). But they’re not always in their work clothes. We hear Berlusconi playing the piano and telling “various types” of joke at Milan’s training ground. We see Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi drawing Nesta’s ire as they take him on a mystery tour of the German countryside in a hire car days before a World Cup semi-final. And we smell the aftermath of Filippo Inzaghi’s graphically described pre-match routine.

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Stillness and Speed: My Story-Dennis Bergkamp

In Stillness and Speed, one of football’s most enigmatic stars finally opens up about his life and career, revealing the things that motivate and inspire him. Viewed by many as one of the most influential figures in Premier League history, and scorer of the goal that Arsenal fans voted the best in the club’s history, Dennis Bergkamp is a true giant of the game. As a youngster, Bergkamp learned from the Dutch master Johan Cruyff. By the time the pupil was ready to graduate from Ajax and move abroad, he was ready to spread the word, but in Italy he found few willing listeners. It was only when he moved to Arsenal and linked up with Arsene Wenger that he met someone else who shared his vision for football’s possibilities. Bergkamp became central to everything the club did: now he had become the teacher, their creative genius, and the one who inspired some of the wayward old guard to new heights, helping them to seven major trophies. Few footballers’ books make you think anew, but in Stillness and Speed Bergkamp presents a new vision for the game and how it might be played. He was a player like no other; his story is told like no other. It is a book that will inspire football fans everywhere, whatever their allegiance.

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Ferenc Puskas: Captain of Hungary

There was a time, before Pele burst on the scene, that Ferenc Puskas may just have been the greatest football player in the world. Like Pele, he had a father who was active as a professional first. Like Pele, he made his senior team debut at 16 and his international debut at 17.

To many younger/fans, their image of Puskas is shaped by the film records that survive (I certainly included my self before I read this book). We see a swaggering, almost arrogant figure, strolling across the pitch and firing rockets from great distances with his famous left foot. The Puskas who narrates his life story is very different. A devoted family man and father, he sees his amazing talent as the by-product of his training. The English nicknamed him “The Galloping Major” but here he is a humble, almost innocent figure.

One section that really stood out was his detailed examination of the revolutionary new tactics of the Hungarian National team. He gives you not only the origin of their formations and approach, but shows how these new tactical approaches came into being in the first place. He then compares Hungary formations and approach to others of the era. These explanations are well written and easy to understand. – User Review from Amazon

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The Second Half-Roy Keane

In an 18-year playing career for Cobh Ramblers, Nottingham Forest, and Manchester United (under Sir Alex Ferguson) and Celtic, Roy Keane dominated every midfield he led to glory. Aggressive and highly competitive, his attitude helped him to excel as captain of Manchester United from 1997 until his departure in 2005.  Since retiring as a player, Keane has managed Sunderland and Ipswich and become a notably contrarian pundit for ITV. He is assistant (to Martin O’Neill) manager of the Ireland team. The TV analyst reflects the manager, the player, and the man himself, the unique Roy Keane—Keano. As part of a tiny elite of soccer players, Roy Keane has lived and experienced what very few people could ever imagine. His status one of soccer’s greatest stars is undisputed, but what of the challenges beyond the pitch? This book is a personal odyssey, a blend of anecdote and reflection which re-evaluates the meaning of success. In following his personal struggle to reinvent himself, confronting a few demons along the way, The Second Half blends memoir and motivational writing in a manner which both disquiets and reassures in Roy Keane’s original voice, in a stunning collaboration brilliantly captured with Man Booker Prize-winning writer Roddy Doyle.

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Carlo Ancelotti: The Beautiful Games of an Ordinary Genius

The entertaining, revealing, and controversial bestselling autobiography of one of the most respected figures in the world of soccer. Carlo Ancelotti is one of only six people to have won the Champions League—European soccer’s most coveted trophy—as both player and coach. After a successful career playing for several of the most important teams in Italy—and for the Italian national team—Ancelotti went on to become one of the most acclaimed and outspoken coaches in European football, managing Italian giants Parma, Juventus, and Milan before moving to Chelsea, one of the Premier League’s most successful clubs, in 2009. The book moves from anecdotes of his life growing up in Reggio Emilia to stories of his time playing among the best footballers in the world. With a characteristic mixture of sharp insight and humor, Ancelotti explores the differences between the Italian and the English games, shares his thoughts on soccer’s future with the MLS in America, and reflects on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. With a preface by the legendary former captain of the Italian national team, Paolo Maldini, this book is at once a tactician’s bible from one of the world’s most celebrated footballing minds, the fascinating story of an ordinary man reaching great heights, and in part a revealing tell-all from an outspoken insider in the cut-throat world of European soccer. The perfect book for anyone with a passion for the beautiful game.

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Didier Drogba: The Autobiography

This is the frank and moving autobiography of one of the world’s best strikers and most intriguing personalities. Drogba tells of his heartbreaking separation from his homeland at the age of five, his unsettled formative years moving around France before his first breaks at Mans and Guincamp revealed a precocious talent which came through in a stunning season for Marseillles and finally a GBP24m move to Chelsea. Mourinho said of Drogba “With you I could win every war”, and the striker was pivotal in Chelsea’s first title in 50 years. Passionate, outspoken, searingly honest and always entertaining, Drogba is also the ultimate team player, and a hero to fans. But there is much more to Drogba than footballing brilliance. He is a phenomenon in the UK, France and in his home country of the Ivory Coast where his outstanding journey from a humble background to superstar sets him apart from other footballers; he has inspired dance crazes, place names and was even a unifying influence in the turbulent politics of his war torn country. From this he has been appointed 1 of 3 UN ambassadors besides Zidane and Ronaldo. Drogba will talk openly about his life and career: the successes and the struggles; the glories and controversies.

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The Keeper: A Life of Saving Goals and Achieving Them- Tim Howard

In this inspiring, down-to-earth memoir the revered goalkeeper and American icon  idolized by millions worldwide for his dependability, daring, and humility recounts his rise to stardom at the 2014 World Cup, the psychological and professional challenges he has faced, and the enduring faith that has sustained him.

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Red: My Autobiography- Gary Neville

Authoritative, insightful, fearless and never less than 100% honest, no-one has better credentials for documenting the story of United under Sir Alex Ferguson. Neville reveals the behind-the-scenes secrets of his early days with the likes of Giggs, Scholes and his best mate David Beckham; what it was like to play with Cantona, Keane and Ronaldo; the Treble in 1999; and of course an entire career of playing for the greatest manager in the game.

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