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Keano, Rio and Pirlo - 13 of the best football books to read this Christmas

In case you’re in need of a last-minute Christmas gift, one of these fine reads should do the trick.

1. Bobby Moore, The Man in Full by Matt Dickinson

Bobby Moore

DEBUNKING MOORE’S IMAGE as the squeaky-clean working-class hero to an extent, Matt Dickinson’s book paints a far more complex portrait of the late World Cup-winning captain, providing several fascinating insights in the process.

2. The Second Half by Roy Keane and Roddy Doyle


What more can be said about the autobiography that created a zillion headlines? Like him or loathe him, Roy Keane’s latest book is an always-entertaining and often unflinchingly-honest read.

3. 2sides: Rio Ferdinand – My Autobiography


Legendary former Man United defender Rio Ferdinand looks back on an eventful career and lifts the lid on David Moyes, Wayne Rooney and John Terry among others, in a book penned in conjunction with acclaimed author David Winner.

4. A Different Shade of Green: The Alan McLoughlin Story by Alan McLoughlin and Bryce Evans

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Done in collaboration with ghostwriter Bryce Evans, Alan McLoughlin revisits a career in which he supposedly “justified his existence” with a famous goal that got Ireland to the 1994 World Cup. Aside from that iconic moment, there is also much else of interest, including colourful anecdotes on Jack Charlton, Roy Keane and Dave Whelan.

5. I Think Therefore I Play by Andrea Pirlo and Alessandro Alciato


One of the best and most enigmatic players in world football from down through the years, Andrea Pirlo contemplates his career in an entertaining and often witty fashion in the company of Alessandro Alciato.

6. Football Clichés by Adam Hurrey


Inspired by his popular Twitter account and blog, Adam Hurrey’s book provides a definitive and comprehensive account of the most bizarre and prominent instances of football speak that fellow addicts of the sport will inevitably relate to and appreciate.

7. In Search of Duncan Ferguson: The Life and Crimes of a Footballing Enigma by Alan Pattullo


A tale of one of the most eccentric and controversial footballers of the Premier League era written by Alan Pattullo. In addition to his goalscoring exploits, Duncan Ferguson was equally renowned for on-field acts of ill-discipline, ultimately leading him to become the first player to be jailed for an incident of violence on the pitch.

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8. The Unstoppable Keeper by Lutz Pfannenstiel 


A look at one of the most incredible obscure footballers around – Lutz Pfannenstiel is the only professional to: play in all FIFA Confederations, get wrongly arrested for match fixing and stop breathing three times during a game.

9. Stuck in a Moment: The Ballad of Paul Vaessen by Stewart Taylor 


The story of former Arsenal player Paul Vaessen, who starred in a European Cup-Winners’ Cup semi-final against Juventus, before a career-ending injury led to his descent into drugs and the kind of harsh life that often greets an ex-footballer.

10. The Three Degrees by Paul Rees


Paul Rees takes an insightful look at a time when racial tensions were at their height in British football, and Cyrille Regis, Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson became the first three black players to represent a professional team — West Brom.

11. Louis van Gaal: The Biography by Maarten Meijer


Maarten Meijer takes a forensic look at the career of Louis van Gaal and explores what it is that makes him one of the most revered and successful managers in world football.

12. Pep Confidential: The Inside Story of Pep Guardiola’s First Season at Bayern Munich by Marti Perarnau


Journalist Marti Perarnau is given unique access to what goes on behind the scenes at Bayern Munich, focusing in particular on the revolutionary philosophy and training methods employed by coach Pep Guardiola during his first season at the club.

13. Invincible: Inside Arsenal’s Unbeaten 2003-2004 Season by Amy Lawrence


Guardian journalist Amy Lawrence recounts the realisation of an impossible dream, when Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal went an entire season unbeaten. The book is an impeccably researched look at that time, and features interviews with some of the key figures involved in the Gunners’ success, including Arsene Wenger, Robert Pires and Gilberto Silva.

What were your favourite football books from this year? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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