Are you super excited to park up on the couch and watch as much football as possible during the World Cup?

If you are there will be moments where you have some downtime. What to do in such a situation?

For a start, you can check out the latest World Cup odds because there will be some upsets, some of which you might think you can pick. The underdogs aren’t just going to roll over so put your money where your mouth is.

The other option? Read some football autobiographies (if you’re not watching down at your local)!

I have to say while researching for this post I wasn’t expecting to find so many books from players (in English) who’ve been selected in their nations squad of 23.

Although autobiographies are best written after a player has been retired for a few years I’ll read all of these during the World Cup. I’ll add a few of my favourite quotes from each book as well as my rating after finishing each one.

Tim Cahill | Jamie Vardy | Andre Iniesta | Luis Suarez
Neymar | Mesut Özil | Pepe Reinga | Maya Yoshida

Legacy: The Autobiography of Tim Cahill

Tim is someone we can all strive to be! His self-awareness is incredible and that’s seen throughout the book as he was always learning, always adjusting. Yet he has never strayed away from the core qualities that make him who he is, a passionate aggressive player who doesn’t shy away from hard work.

Name: Tim Cahill
Nation: Australia
D.O.B: 6 December 1979
World Cup Appearences: 4
Stars: 4.5/5

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My Favourite Quotes From The Book

  • I’m not the body, I’m not even the mind.
  • Even as a kid, that’s all you need: to catch that fraction of a second of pride in your father’s eyes.
  • Nothing is every predetermined. It’s a constant reminder to work hard, stay focused and never believe that your future is assured.
  • Long-term mental toughness as a professional comes from making a deal with yourself. Be honest about what you did well and not so well and, most importantly, whether or not you played with all your heart.
  • Sometimes, whether you’re right or wrong, it’s best to take the punishment in silence.

Jamie Vardy: From Nowhere, My Story

For those who want to read about someone who always had natural talent but nearly let opportunities slip away because of a lack of hard work, Jamie’s story is a great motivator. As part of a 5000-1 Premiership winning team, the story is always going to be good but there are times where he skips out on sharing some great insights in regards to those closest to him.

Name: Jamie Vardy
Nation: England
D.O.B: 11 January 1987
World Cup Appearences: 1
Rating: 4/5

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My Favourite Quotes From The Book

  • You never forget your roots –they made me what I am and I wouldn’t change anything about my backstory –but once I got to the top flight I was thinking only about being a Premier League player. That meant trying to behave like one, too.
  • It was a big learning curve for us all, but with stability at home I was able to deal with the disappointment in a way that wouldn’t have been possible a couple of years earlier.
  • Once you’ve had that chance and been involved, training for a week or two with the country’s best players, you don’t want to let it go.
  • It didn’t matter what obstacle was in front of us, we’d always carry on to the end. ‘Foxes never quit’ is the slogan above the tunnel at the King Power Stadium, and we followed that to the letter.
  • Nearly all of us in that team had suffered rejection at one stage or another, quite a few had played lower league football and, let’s be honest, clubs like Leicester aren’t supposed to win the title.

The Artist: Being Iniesta

Name: Andrés Iniesta Luján
Nation: Spain
D.O.B: 11 May 1984
World Cup Appearences: 4

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quotes coming soon
quotes coming soon

Luis Suarez – My Story: Crossing the Line

One of the more interesting football autobiographies. Luis doesn’t fluff about his more controversial incidents that have plagued his career. It’s fair to say he is an outstanding as a player who has gone through turmoil several times yet still managed to play world-class football for a long period of time. Thoroughly enjoyed this.

Name: Luis Suárez
Nation: Uruguay
D.O.B: 24 January 1987
World Cup Appearences: 3

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My Favourite Quotes From The Book

  • Speed and aggression sometimes disguises the flaws.
  • I learned that you have to train well, but ‘train well’ did not always translate simply as working hard; intelligence was as important as intensity.
  • There was no point in going it alone; you would just tire yourself out for nothing. Instead we coordinated the moves, choosing our moments carefully.
  • We all come from the same kind of families, that struggled and fought. And if you bring together people whose mentalities and experiences are the same, whose obsessions are shared, you have a big advantage.
  • You never want to get a pep talk before the warm-up or you’ll go out fired up too early and you’ll use up too much energy too soon.

Neymar: My Story: Conversations with My Father

Name: Neymar Jr.
Nation: Brazil
D.O.B: 5 February 1992
World Cup Appearences: 2

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My Favourite Quotes From The Book

  • You can never justify a mistake. My parents always taught me to not try to explain my mistakes, but try to learn from them.
  • In every game you play you face players also trying their best to win and to fulfil their own lifelong ambitions and dreams. As much as you try, sometimes things go wrong. There are things that are beyond our control. That’s why we always have to be physically and mentally prepared to the best of our ability, because when it’s your turn, you have to give all you can. And you may never get another chance.
  • If a child has a dream, he must chase it. And never give up, even if people say it will never come true.
  • It takes patience and also persistence to get better and try to make those who criticise today speak well of you in the next game.
  • One of the best things in football is to experience a sense of belonging, a feeling of ‘all for one and one for all’ among the players and the fans, and across an entire organisation.

Gunning for Greatness: My Life

Name: Mesut Özil
Nation: Germany
D.O.B: 15 October 1988
World Cup Appearences: 3

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quotes coming soon

Pepe – My Autobiography

Name: Pepe Reina
Nation: Spain
D.O.B: 31 August 1982
World Cup Appearences: 4

Buy now on Amazon

quotes coming soon

Unbeatable Mind

Yoshida has written several books, but this is his first foray into one in English. For a first effort this is a solid book. The book focuses on him being a samurai, a resilient person. This outline is set before he wrote the book and I feel like it held him back. It felt like he had to force things into some insight into the way of a samurai. What impresses me most is how Yoshida is conscious of his Japanese upbringing and how it has influenced him overseas. He has adjusted well while remaining true to his roots and representing Japan like a boss on the world stage.

Name: Maya Yoshida
Nation: Japan
D.O.B: 24 August 1988
World Cup Appearences: 2

Buy now on Amazon

  • Resilience can give you strength to keep moving forwards when you are caught in the rain or a storm, and keep you continuing on your journey through life. And it is a strength that resides in everyone.
  • Watching them, I sometimes told myself, ‘I shouldn’t do that,’ or ‘I can’t be like that,’ using them as a bad example.
  • In order to pass through such a narrow gate, it is important to have a clear vision of how you’re going to reach a higher standard from an early stage in your development. How far you go depends to a large extent on how high you set your goal as well as the actions you take to reach it.
  • Once you feel comfortable in your own skin even in an alien environment, surrounded by different languages, cultures or customs from your own, and you become accepted as yourself in that environment, then you can call yourself a world citizen.
  • If you’re willing to make a brave decision at an early juncture in your career, not as a gamble but as part of the vision you have for your own future as a professional player, it can make a huge difference to your future prospects.
  • Happy reading! And if you’re doing some betting like myself, let’s go Poland!