Football fans couldn't have asked for a more exciting start to this year's iteration of the sport's most beloved tournament. From witchdoctors to goal-line technology controversies, the 2014 World Cup looks to be one for the books...quite literally. It surely is for the authors and intellectuals whom New Republic asked to write about their favourite footballers.
That the jogo bonito inspires literary fervour is no new concept (see Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch, which, in an interesting turn of influences, was the basis of TWO films). But the passion behind these portraits of some of football's most intriguing and controversial figures is something to be celebrated.