Book look: brilliant Barca

Ronald Reng is arguably one of Germany’s most gifted writers, not just among those specialised in football.

The author of one of the best – and saddest – books about the sport, a fragile person and depression, the superb Robert Enke biography “Robert Enke. Ein allzu kurzes Leben”, is now in the news with a 250-page publication about FC Barcelona. Fans know that Reng lived there for many years. They are also aware of his love for the English fighting spirit and attitude towards the game.

1“Barca. Die Entdeckung des schönen Fußballs” describes his first encounter with Barca’s passing brilliance in 2001, featuring Markus Babbel and a well-known German rock band front man “talking rubbish about football”. Reng actually decided to relocate to Barcelona after watching them play to study the game and work as freelance writer for German-language papers. “Barca. Die Entdeckung des schönen Fußballs” is a collection of articles about Barcelona’s glorious and bleak years by Reng published by Süddeutsche Zeitung and other renowned papers.

Piper, the publishing house responsible for this release, showed lack of fair play by failing to make clear that the book does not consist of new output. However, the articles demonstrate Reng’s enormous capacities as a writer. He is much more than just another sports journalist fascinated by a brilliant team.

“Barca. Die Entdeckung des schönen Fußballs” features essays about the copycat methods of the Spanish national team and portraits of different people of importance regarding the Barca myth – from former managers to players and an economist and close friend of Pep Guardiola. Reng also compared the legendary coach and Luis Enrique, his former teammate and current manager.

The author of “Spieltage. Die andere Geschichte der Bundesliga” also examines the decline of quality in Barca’s game following the bright era shaped by Romario and manager Johan Cruyff. He analyses why it all went wrong in the end when Deco became ignorant and Ronaldinho chubby. The book closes with tributes to Cruyff following his death and the current team spearheaded by Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.

Barca. Die Entdeckung des schönen Fußballs
By Ronald Reng
Published by Piper (www.piper.de)

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