From Eduardo Galeano's classic, now available as an ebook. We'll have excerpts throughout the week.
He was born to shine shoes, sell peanuts, or pick pockets. As a child they called him "Ninguém": no one, nobody. Son of a widowed mother, he played soccer from dawn to dusk with his many brothers in the empty lots of the shantytowns.
He set foot on the field running as only someone fleeing the police or poverty nipping at his heels can run. That's how he became champion of Europe at the age of twenty, sprinting in zigzags. They called him "The Panther."
At the World Cup in 1966 his long strides left adversaries scattered on the ground, and his goals, from impossible angles, set off cheers that never ended.
Portugal's best player ever was an African from Mozambique. Eusébio: long legs, dangling arms, sad eyes.
Excerpted from Soccer in Sun and Shadow. Copyright © 1997 by Eduardo Galeano and Mark Fried, translation. Published in paperback by Nation Books, 2013. Published in ebook by Open Road Media, 2014; available wherever ebooks are sold. By permission of Susan Bergholz Literary Services, New York City and Lamy, NM. All rights reserved.