• Kylian Mbappé: The French Phenomenon

    By Thore Haugstad If you were to build a talent from scratch—a kind of superhuman football prodigy—you’d probably start with the genes. Give the kid a father who’s an ex-footballer and now a coach, and a mother who has played, say, professional handball. Place him in one of the hotspots for youth development, like the suburbs [...] More
  • Arsène Wenger: The Professor

    By Thore Haugstad By Thore Haugstad In 2005, French biographer Xavier Rivoire visited Arsène Wenger at his home in Totteridge, North London. At the time Wenger was perceived as the architect of some of the finest football seen in England. The way Arsenal played—the one-touch passing, the synchronised movements, the thrilling counter-attacks—denoted a system that [...] More
  • Diego Costa: Strong but noble

    By Thore Haugstad Diego Costa never thought he’d make it as a footballer. The problem wasn’t his talent, but his birthplace. Situated in the north-eastern region of Sergipe, one of the poorest in Brazil, Lagarto has a third of its one hundred thousand inhabitants living in poverty. Scouts tend to overlook the area. The only [...] More
  • Salah: The King of Charity

    By Thore Haugstad Earlier this month, Mohamed Salah came second in the race to become the next Egyptian president. The reelected winner, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, had gathered ninety-two percent of the votes, after his rivals had pulled out or been jailed. Disillusioned by the lack of options, more than a million people scribbled down the [...] More
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