Eduardo Galeano’s Soccer in Sun and Shadow (Verso) collects his ruminations on the history and future of soccer, and consists of vignettes describing famous players, unlikely goals and every World Cup final since 1930. The book contains much little-known trivia: Albert Camus played goalkeeper all his life because in that position your shoes don’t wear out quickly. He grew up in a poor family, and his grandmother examined the soles of his shoes every night and beat him if they were worn. Soccer fans are notoriously partisan, but Galeano describes himself as a “beggar for good soccer.” He visits the stadiums of the world with his hand outstretched, pleading for a pretty move, “And when good soccer happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don’t give a damn which team or country performs it.”
The folks at Philosophy Football, claim to be “sporting outfitters of intellectual distinction.” Ten years ago, they began producing a series of shirts featuring quotes from famous philosophers about football (soccer), and philosophical quotes from famous footballers. The shirt for Albert Camus reads: “All that I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football.” And from the footballer Eric Cantona: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown in the sea.” Now there are more than three teams? worth of shirts, including Jacques Derrida: “Beyond the touchline, there is nothing,” Germaine Greer: “Football is an art” and Soren Kierkegaard: “The unhappy individual is forever quite close to the goal and at the same time some distance from it.” Watch for the shirts in fields and cafes near you.