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In Mexico City, a bookshop with football mania

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  29 July 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Mexico City, July 28: Everything you have ever wanted to know about football lines the shelves of Futbologia (Footballogy), a Mexico City bookstore that specialises in the sport.

The shop, located in the city’s trendy Condesa neighbourhood, features more than a thousand titles, such as “God is Round,” Mexican author and football fan Juan Villoro’s look at the sport as a religion with a strong following.

You’ll also find football almacs, manuals and memorabilia, as well as DVDs, magazines and 3D puzzles of the world’s most famous football stadiums, including La Bombonera in Buenos Aires and England’s Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United.

“There’s something for every type of reader,” owner Humberto Melendez told Xinhua in an interview. “We even get people who are studying football, from the players to the coaches and the club magers.”

Today’s bestsellers are the books with Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Zinedine Zidane or Cristiano Roldo on the cover, according to Melendez, though there are also perennial favourites by famed authors known for their love of football, such as Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano and French philosopher Albert Camus.

Galeano’s book “Soccer in Sun and Shadow” traces the history of the game, from ancient Chi, where Ming dysty art seems to feature a soccer ball, to the modern day, and covers the highlights and tragedies, including Uruguayan defensive midfielder Abdon Porte committing suicide in 1918 by shooting himself in the middle of the tiol club’s stadium in Montevideo.

“We have exclusive books by major authors, such as Argenti’s Marcelo Alberto Bielsa and the current coach of the Mexican tiol team, the Colombian Juan Osorio, among others. Each year we present new publications,” said Melendez.

One of the newest books available is “Football: The Infinite Game, the new football as symbol of globalization,” by former Argentinian player and coach Jorge Valdano. Recently, the coach of Mexico’s under-23 tiol team, Raul Gutierrez, bought several copies for his players headed to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, so “they will have something to read” on their trip, said Melendez.

In addition to selling books, Melendez mages a library of some 250 books, several more than half a century old, that can be consulted.

Melendez said the bookshop got its start in 2005, with a collection of 50 books he gradually put together by combing flea markets and street stands.

It has since grown into a full time family business offering 1,200 titles both at his brick-and-mortar shop and online, in addition to publishing works by authors not represented by a publishing house. “I began this independent project as a hobby, after seeing that in Mexico there were no books on football,” said Melendez.

“In other countries, like Argenti, Spain, Uruguay or Colombia, it is more common to find books and authors who write about football. In Mexico, there are independent authors, but they don’t have the support of the major publishing houses. At Futbologia we carry their books and we take them to (book) fairs we attend,” said Melendez.

Futbologia has helped authors promote their works at universities and football clubs, as well as the Intertiol Book Fair (FIL) held in the western city of Guadalajara, where, since 2008, it has participated as the only supplier of specialty books on football.

“It’s good encouragement to continue with this project,” said Melendez, who believes “there are so many more (football) stories to tell.” IANS

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