Football is, in Pele’s words, ‘the beautiful game’ . Eduardo Galeano has written a series of football epiphanies from the global history of football when the rays of light have glittered from the passion of the game.
As world music is to two-dimensional Stock, Aitken and Waterman pop so Eduardo Galeano’s football writing is to Motty’s commentary. Galeano searches out the mystical and the bewitched, the romance and the emotional destitution of the greatest game in the 20th-century world. It is a story of love and death: of the suicide of Abdon Porte who shot himself in the centre circle of the Nacional Stadium, of the phoenix-like Charlton spared from the Munich disaster to glory on the world stage. It is a story of muses and spells: of the Argentinian manager who wouldn’t feed his team chicken because it would bring bad luck, of the Russian goalkeeper who prepared his mind and his nerves with a cigarette and a dash of spirits before each game. This is the glory of football in all its vivid international hues, with its multilingual cries of despair, victory and sheer passion. This is Viva Pitch!