6 Football Autobiographies every fan must read

We’ve seen our favourite athletes on the field, winning titles and indulging in locker room chit-chat, but what diehard fan wouldn’t like a sneak peek into their lives off the pitch as well? While getting up close and personal with sporting superstars isn’t entirely a possibility, the closest you can come to experiencing their life is by living it vicariously through the pages of their autobiographies. 

If you’re intrigued by the ups and downs and twists and turns in the life of a footballer, here are some books you can’t afford to miss. 

1. I Am Zlatan by Zlatan Ibrahimovic 

One of the biggest names in modern-day football, Swedish superstar Ibrahimovic is known not just for his height, but his ego as well. Contrary to what you may think, his book is more than self-promotion. It vividly narrates his childhood as an immigrant in Sweden, where he turned to football as a way keep himself engaged and to overcome the feeling of being an outsider. Goal by goal, this persistence led him to become the international icon he is today. Gritty and punchy, the narrative provides insights into the dressing rooms and training grounds of some of the world’s biggest football clubs, coaches, and players – of course, all from his point of view. 

2. #2Sides: My Autobiography by Rio Ferdinand  

From his rise in the West Ham youth team to becoming a legend at Manchester United, Ferdinand’s autobiography states it all. Unlike your everyday memoir, things in this book aren’t stated in any order. He pens down his thoughts, which include vignettes from his life, his ‘encounters’ with other football wonders, and anecdotes from his distinguished career. The book captures his views and opinions of ex-managers, his friendships and rivalries, his ups and downs, his wins and losses, and aspects of the beautiful game. It’s not an ‘all-about-me’ book but one that’s refreshing, honest and from the heart. 

3. Why Soccer Matters by Pelé 

Before Messi, Ronaldo or even Beckham there was Edson Arantes do Nascimento – or, simply, Pelé. His on-field accomplishments were magical: he led Brazil to three World Cup championships, and over his 20-year career, he scored 1283 goals. While this is not his actual autobiography, the book tells of his journey from growing up in Brazilian favelas where he discovered his incredible talent, to describing his days as a Santos player and his subsequent international career. It also talks of his culture, his people, and his belief in the game. This book is his legacy; it’s his way of passing on what he’s learned through the years to inspire succeeding generations.  

4. Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography by Alex Ferguson  

This is an entertaining, inspiring, and revealing autobiography of one of the greatest managers in the history of football. Over the years, Sir Alex Ferguson has reflected upon and jotted down highlights from his profession, and in this book, he reveals the incredible story as it unfolded. He dwells at length on managing seismic changes at Manchester United. He bids goodbye to David Beckham and Roy Keane and discusses the course of crafting a new Champions League side around Rooney and Ronaldo. The great rivalry amid Arsenal, City, Liverpool, and Chelsea is ruminated over. You also learn his views on the psychology of management and his interests outside the game. Some may call the accounts biased, but it makes for a great read if you’re interested in all the back stories. 

5. Didier Drogba: The Autobiography by Didier Drogba  

One of Chelsea Football Club’s all-time greats, Didier Drogba’s autobiography offers interesting insights into his life as a footballer and provides a peek into his modest beginnings. He talks about the time he spent at Stamford Bridge and his experiences and encounters off the field. Young Drogba grew up poverty-stricken on streets of Ivory Coast. It was only after migrating to France that he was able to pursue his dream of becoming a footballer. His efforts to make a difference in his home country are notable. Not only did he set up a hospital in Abidjan, he also used his influence to stop a civil war. Actions do speak louder than words, and today he is idolised by people all over the world.  

6. Blood, Sweat and McAteer: A Footballer’s Story by Jason McAteer 

Coming from a family of title-winning boxers, also known as ‘the fighting McAteers’, Jason McAteer was the odd one out. At the age of 21 he followed his dreams of becoming a footballer and signed with Bolton Wanderers and later to Liverpool FC. From being a part of the Irish World Cup squad to his days in tumultuous Saipan; his decision to transfer from Liverpool to Blackburn Rovers, and then later to Sunderland and finally falling into depression, his story is engrossing. You get a glimpse of the real Jason McAteer – bruised here and battered there, but never giving up. 

On days when you feel low or demotivated, these books can motivate you to bring out the best version of yourself. These famous footballers can give you #LifeGoals and serve as an inspiration for you to #GoForGoals. You can shop for these books on online or offline stores and pay through HDFC Bank’s Debit Card or HDFC Bank Credit Card, which is not only convenient and hassle-free but also gets you great discounts and CashBacks. 

So, hurry up and get your hands on these treasures.

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