‘In Italy we have never heard of fair play’ – Gianni Brera
Calcio tells the story of Italian football from its origins in the 1890s to the present day. It takes us through a history of great players and teams, of style, passion and success, but also of violence, cynicism, tactics and corruption.
We meet the personalities who have shaped this history – from the Italian heroes to the foreigners that failed, the model professionals to the mavericks. Calcio evokes the triumph (the 1982 World Cup victory) and the tragedies (Meroni, the ‘Italian George Best’, killed by his number one fan), set against a backdrop of paranoia and intrigue, in a country where the referee is seen as corrupt until proven otherwise.
Calcio is no longer a game. It is sometimes difficult to define it as a sport. It is certainly big business and a fanatical civic religion. There is no moral code here. Winners are always right, losers always wrong. This history of Italian football – the first written in English – is a mix of serious analysis and comic storytelling, with vivid descriptions of games, goals, dives, missed penalties, riots and scandals in the richest and toughest league in the World.