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more than just a game

more than just a game

Soccer today is the most popular sport in the world. The main football clubs attract fans from all over the planet and the show is more than just a played game. 

 The connection among big clubs, top players, televisions and sponsoring companies produces one of the best advertising machines of our time. As such, top players are actual international stars and their influence on people’s daily lives is growing more and more. So it’s not surprising that the two richest football clubs in the world – FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF – are also those in which the two strongest and highest paid players have played. 

 This system is creating a much larger audience of supporters than ever before. The  new supporter is no longer in love with a single team, but very often he is a follower of a single player or a simple fan of the team that wins more. On another side, the museums of main soccer clubs, often located inside the stadiums, have been included major international tourist routes and have by now as many visitors as the greatest art museums in the world. 

 Therefore, can we say that soccer is just a game? Definitely not. It can still contribute to promoting good values such as fair play, tolerance and peace between countries. But, more than this, it also risks to make us lose the sense of reality and connection with what really matters.

 The photos were taken in the past four years during the UEFA Champions Festival in Milan (2016), Kiev (2018) and Madrid (2019) as well as in the stadium museums of Camp Nou (Barcelona 2018) and Bernabeu (Madrid 2019). 

To complete the project, I would like to keep shooting during the next UEFA Champions Festival (Istanbul 2020) and in other relevant football museums such as the Manchester United Museum (the club with the highest number of fans in the world) and CR7 Museum in Madeira (the only museum dedicated to a single football player, Cristiano Ronaldo).

 My goal is to increase people’s awareness around this issue through exhibitions and to publish the project in a book with in-depth analysis from an anthropological point of view of this phenomenon. The project has been self-produced and never been presented before.

Samuele Mancini