MESSI

Author: Guillem Balague
Publisher: Orion Publishing (March 1, 2014)
ISBN: 9781409146599

On May 1, 2005, 17-year-old Lionel Messi scored his first goal for FC Barcelona, becoming, at the time, the youngest player ever to score in a league match for the Catalan club. Since then, his story has been one of meteoric—and seemingly limitless—success. Now, this compelling and perceptive biography by respected soccer journalist Guillem Balague gets to the heart of the mystery and genius that is Messi. From that first, league-winning season to the present, this chronicle details Messi’s historic feats, analyzing the reasons behind his barely comprehensible success. It examines the integral role he played during the 2008–2009 season, during which Barcelona won the league, the domestic cup, and the Champion’s League, as well as the drive and determination that saw him score an astonishing 91 goals in 2012, becoming—at the age of 25—Barcelona’s all-time top scorer, and win four consecutive FIFA World Player of the Year awards.

This account also examines Messi’s international career, during which, after a slow start, he has become Argentina’s second top scorer of all time. This is the story of one of the finest players to ever grace the sport of soccer, the diminutive Argentine who has been named by Diego Maradona himself as his successor and who always plays with a smile on his face at one of the biggest clubs in the world.

I Am Zlatan: My Story On and Off the Field

Author: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Tra edition (June 3, 2014)
ISBN: 978-0-8129-8692-1

Daring, flashy, innovative, volatile—no matter what they call him, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of soccer’s brightest stars. A top-scoring striker with Paris Saint-Germain and captain of the Swedish national team, he has dominated the world’s most storied teams, including Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, and AC Milan. But his life wasn’t always so charmed.

Born to Balkan immigrants who divorced when he was a toddler, Zlatan learned self-reliance from his rough-and-tumble neighborhood. While his father, a Bosnian Muslim, drank to forget the war back home, his mother’s household was engulfed in chaos. Soccer was Zlatan’s release. Mixing in street moves and trick plays, Zlatan was a wild talent who rode to practice on stolen bikes and relished showing up the rich kids—opponents and teammates alike. Goal by astonishing goal, the brash young outsider grew into an unlikely prodigy and, by his early twenties, an international phenomenon.

Told as only the man himself could tell it, featuring stories of friendships and feuds with the biggest names in the sport, I Am Zlatan is a wrenching, uproarious, and ultimately redemptive tale for underdogs everywhere.