The Beautiful Game from the Aztecs to the World Cup: The Complete History of How Soccer Shaped Latin America

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Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9781594485862
  • 496 Pages
  • Riverhead Books
  • Adult


The definitive book about the national identities, heroes, and dramatic stories from Latin American soccer throughout history—in time for the 2014 World Cup.

“Golazo!” means “amazing goal!” And the word  perfectly captures the unique, exuberant, all-encompassing, passionate role that soccer plays in Latin America.

Andreas Campomar offers readers the definitive history of Latin American soccer from the early, deadly Mesoamerican ballgames to the multi-billion dollar international business it is today. Golazo! explores the intersection of soccer, politics, economics, high and low culture, and how passion for a game captured a continent.

Latin American soccer will be in the global spotlight more than ever in the coming years—both the next World Cup (2014) and the Summer Olympics (2016) will be hosted in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, a country for which soccer is not just a passion but a way of life. The triumphs, the heartbreaks, the origins and the future, the political and the personal—Golazo! is the perfect book for new fans and diehard followers around the world.


Praise for Golazo!

“[A] sweeping exploration of soccer intersecting with politics, history, economics and culture in forging a continent’s passion.” — Steven Goff, The Washington Post

“The most comprehensive history of soccer in the part of the world in which it may well mean the most… A thorough, engaging history of the development of futbol and its place in Latin American society… Campomar effectively brings out the color and passion for the game, its evocative langauge, its artistic power and its sometimes-martial ugliness… He accomplishes his task with verve… Fine, scintillating history.” — Kirkus

“Perfection, pride, politics and punch-ups. The South American way of football has never been more readable.” — John Crace, ESPN and The Guardian