Soccer idols on murals

Many soccer fans admire their idols on artistically designed projection surfaces: House facades, bridges and interior spaces provide space for the passion of those who often can no longer afford an admission ticket. FIFA or Premier League soccer, however, has distanced itself from the true fans.

Ceiling painting with soccer scenes during the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Cologne Central Station / © Photo: Georg Berg

Book recommendation for fans on boycott

In Football Murals, British sports journalist Andy Brassell shows murals that caught his eye on the way to his reports. In researching his book, the soccer expert came to understand even better the fans’ fateful devotion to their personal heroes through the aesthetics of the images themselves. The texts in his book, which has so far only been published in English, describe many backgrounds of the milieus around players, clubs, cities and coaches.

Those who love soccer but do not really enjoy the World Cup in Qatar could get a lot of pleasure from this book during their downtime: Andy Brassell: Football Murals: A Celebration of Soccer’s Greatest Street Art (Amazon purchase link*)

Murals communicate on the street

Maradona is worshipped in Naples like a god to whom nothing human is alien. Immortalized on a wall, of course, is the hand of God that made Argentina world champions. Ronaldo appears on murals like his Instagram account as a made-up Adonis, whose mural was destroyed by fans after his departure in Turin. Messi still appears pensive in oversized depictions, and Jürgen Klopp ‘s emotional intensity simultaneously embodies unwavering loyalty to the club.

Contrary to FIFA’s wishes at their World Cup, however, many images also show the struggle for what is truly good. Separate chapters are devoted to the decades-long path to recognition of women’s soccer or the Black Lives Matter movement. Resistance to excessive commercialism is symbolized by a picture showing Juventur Turin’s manager stabbing a soccer ball and thus the soul of the game.

Entire chapters are devoted to players such as Johan Cruyff, Wayne Rooney, Pelé, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Megan Rapinoe, Mohamed Salah, Franz Beckenbauer, Lucy Bronze and Zinédine Zidane. Other headlines are: Cult of the Coach, When Love Breaks Down, Murals Memorial, Soul of the Game or The Good Fight.

I thank chance

I must confess that I first became aware of the book because it also contains a picture I took in Cologne’s main train station during the 2006 summer fair.

From one day to the next, the entire ceiling of Cologne’s main train station was decorated with a kind of fresco on which national team players such as Michael Ballack, David Beckham, Zinédine Zidane and Juan Román Riquelme floated high above the heads of passers-by in a faithful antique impression.

Only later did I find out that this guerrilla advertising was part of the sponsorship of FIFA partner Adidas.

Auf einer Fläche von mehr als 800 Quadratmetern hat Adidas ein Fresko an der Decke des Kölner Hauptbahnhofs anbringen lassen. In originalgetreuer antiker Anmutung schweben Nationalspieler wie Michael Ballack, David Beckham, Zinédine Zidane und Juan Román Riquelme hoch über den Köpfen der Passanten / © Foto: Georg Berg
Deckengemälde mit Fußballszenen während der FIFA Fussball-Weltmeisterschaft 2006 im Kölner Hauptbahnhof / © Foto: Georg Berg
Ceiling painting with soccer scenes during the 2006 FIFA World Cup at Cologne Central Station. Adidas had a fresco painted on the ceiling of Cologne Central Station, covering an area of more than 800 square meters. In a true-to-the-original antique look, national players such as Michael Ballack, David Beckham, Zinédine Zidane and Juan Román Riquelme float high above the heads of passers-by / © Photo: Georg Berg

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