From Eduardo Galeano's classic, now available as an ebook. We'll have excerpts throughout the week.
From who knows what part of the stratosphere, the tiger appears, mauls, and vanishes. The goalkeeper, trapped in his cage, does not even have time to blink. Romário fires off one goal after another: half-volley, bicycle, on the fly, banana shot, backheel, toe poke, side tap.
Romário was born poor in a favela called Jacarezinho, but even as a child he practiced writing his name to prepare for the many autographs he would sign in his life. He clambered up the ladder to fame without paying the toll of obligatory lies: this very poor man always enjoyed the luxury of doing whatever he wished, a barhopping lover of the night who always said what he thought without thinking about what he was saying.
Now he owns a collection of Mercedes-Benz cars and 250 pairs of shoes, but his best friends are still that bunch of unpresentable hustlers who, in his childhood, taught him how to make the kill.
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.