A brilliant, kaleidoscopic exploration of soccer—and the passion, hopes, rivalries, superstitions, and global solidarity it inspires—from award-winning author and Mexico’s leading sports journalist, Juan Villoro.
On a planet where FIFA has more members than the United Nations and the World Cup is watched by more than three billion people, football is more than just a game. As revered author Juan Villoro argues in this passionate and compulsively readable tribute to the world’s favorite sport, football may be the most effective catalyst for panglobal unity at the time when we need it most. (Following global consensus, Villoro uses “football” rather than “soccer” in the book.
What was the greatest goal of all time? Why do the Hungarians have a more philosophical sense of defeat than the Mexicans? Do the dead play football? In essays ranging from incisive and irreverent portraits of Maradona, Messi, Ronaldo, Pelé, Zidane, and many more giants of the game to entertaining explorations of left-footedness and the number 10, Juan Villoro dissects the pleasure and pain of football fandom. God Is Round is a book for both fanatics and neophytes who long to feel the delirium of the faithful.
Praise for Juan Villoro
“If you want to talk about soccer, go talk to Juan Villoro.”
“In trying times like these, when the anguish and uncertainty can be almost too much to bear, Mexico turns to him, its philosopher-fanatic, to make sense of the seemingly nonsensical. With the nation’s hopes for the World Cup spiraling into doubt and chaos, Juan Villoro, one of Mexico’s most decorated and esteemed writers — who also happens to be a leading soccer analyst—comes charging down the metaphorical field to scold, explain and extract the lessons within.”
—The New York Times
“The literature of Juan Villoro…is opening up the path of the new Spanish novel of the millennium.”
“[Villoro] has assumed the Octavio Paz mantle of Mexican public wise man of letters (though with none of Paz’s solemnity, for Villoro is as boyishly effusive, brimming with laughter and cleverness, as Paz was paternalistically dour—and, of course, Villoro, the author of the book God Is Round, may be the most fútbol-obsessed man alive)."
—Francisco Goldman, The New Yorker
About the Author
Juan Villoro is Mexico’s most prolific, prize-winning author, playwright, journalist, and screenwriter. His books have been translated into multiple languages. He lives in Mexico City and is a visiting lecturer at Yale and Princeton universities
About the Translator
Thomas Bunstead's translations from the Spanish include work by Eduardo Halfon and Yuri Herrera, Aixa de la Cruz's story “True Milk” in Best of European Fiction, and the forthcoming A Brief History of Portable Literature by Enrique Vila-Matas (a co-translation with Anne McLean). A guest editor of a Words Without Borders; feature on Mexico (March 2015), Thomas has also published his own writing in the Times Literary Supplement, The Independent;, the Paris Review; blog, 3ammagazine,