The world cup is upon us and with it come many books and special editions of magazines. The extent is tiring and it’s difficult to find something interesting in that sea of publications. Something rather different is a series of books published by John Blake Books with their Ultimate Football Heroes series which is edited by Matt and Tom Oldfield. In this series they are looking at several players: Manuel Neuer, Paul Pogba, Lionel Messi, Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar and describe their careers up to 2017. The books are short and written for children. This is important as it provides kids with much information about these players, i.e. where they grew up, their first experiences as professional players and moves from one club to another. In doing so, the players are portrayed in an easily understandable way. Critical issues such as injuries are left out or are mentioned in passing but the message is positive, that is: nothing can stop them and injuries are easily and quickly overcome. If it only were that easy in real life! Even more so as this series is aimed at kids aged 8 and older. This is an age when kids start to realise that it can hurt to play football and that tackles can be dangerous.
However, it was a pleasure to have read some books in this series in a matter of days. The books featured were on Manuel Neuer, Paul Pogba and Lionel Messi; three players to play a key role at the world cup in Russia. Two of these three will be pushing hard to get to the final and win it: Messi and Pogba. Whatever the outcome of the tournament in Russia these books can be read at any time and are not necessarily to be consumed ahead or during the tournament. The printed books have also section providing links to the greatest moments of each player. This is somewhat unpragmatic as one still has to type the key words to search in YouTube.