The current fifth issue of Mundial offers writings about the career of Francesco Totti at Roma, tells us why Zidane and Ronaldhino were better than CR7 and Messi today and informs us what is so good about Hull. Yes, you’ve read that correctly, Hull.
As names of football magazines go, it is difficult to give readers an idea what the magazine is about without giving too much away or without sounding utterly ridiculous. The people behind Mundial have come up with a no brainer, Mundial, the short form of Copa Mundial de Fùtbol or World Cup or Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft. Everything in one word, no fuss, no long syllables or anything, just Mundial. Yet, the word Mundial encapsulates the tournament and with this we know immediately what this is about: the beautiful game. Initially launched as a one off for the 2014 World Cup, this is already the fifth issue. The success is astonishing as several stockists have already run out of the current issue and a proof that their mixture of writing and fashion is about right and speaks to football fans positively.
As the name suggests, Mundial focuses on the game not just in England or Europe but also looks at Africa and South America. The central story tells us about Francesco Totti whose career took off with a penalty against France in 2000 and is now slowly drawing to a close. He is one of a dying breed, a Number 10 through and through who remained loyal to his club, Roma for 24 years. The writing is of a high standard; serious but allowing opinions. Rarely will we witness the use of prose to describe players like Zidane. Example:
Zizou was simply iconic, regal, a Le Pen-fucking time-and-space bender with undoubtedly football’s greatest ever tonsure…
There is no need to add something to this. All of this is true and demonstrates the rough health football writing is enjoying these days. The piece in question offers a strong opinion about Ronaldinho and Zidane who at one point were the best players on the planet and offered so much more than that. More than their successors CR7 and Messi could offer. Yes, these two are also exceptional players but they lack something that makes them human, makes them as fragile as a glass statue. Surely, Zidane will always be remembered for his sublime play but also for his dark moments, particularly since one of the latter category was his last action on the pitch as a player.
That football can even divide families is demonstrated by London Rapper Loyle Carner whose Dad tried to turn him into a Man United supporter at which he failed as his son is a Liverpool supporter. Though he has a weak spot for Eric Cantona which he has eternalised in a song.
Of course, modern football magazines do need to offer something more than pure football writing and there is an extensive fashion section which ‘brings you a taste of 1994’ by Adidas. We’ll also find a praise of Boca’s 1981 kit which the author describes as the best ever. Not just for the club but in his overall opinion. Underlined is this by a photograph of Diego Maradona sporting said kit. We are entertained by transfer what-ifs of the past: Gascoigne to Man United? Zidane to Newcastle United? Zlatan to Arsenal? What sounds like a transfer rumour mill is indeed a recap of what could have happened. In the end, Zlatan did not do a trial at Arsenal and Zizou has put on a black and white striped shirt but not that of the Geordies.
All this is accompanied by astonishing illustrations which and photographs, making it a pleasure to read but also to browse the several sections just for visual joy.
Then there is Hull or Kingston-upon-Hull to be correct. A double page is dedicated to the UK City of Culture 2017, which Hull is. We learn where to go out for shopping and to find the best restaurants. Based upon this focus, almost any city in the UK could carry the title UK City of Culture. And indeed they should as culture is an important part of our life, in fact it is life itself. Besides this, it is however interesting to see that places with little support nationwide can make themselves heard and seen.