One of the pleasures of strolling through a city for the first time on the eve of a Champions League match is finding unexpected art celebrating local heroes. Whether it’s the rise of social media or companies cottoning on to the reach of huge hand-painted images, it feels as if there are more murals dotting the cityscape than ever. Writer and broadcaster Andy Brassell reveals some of the best around the world in his book Football Murals: A Celebration of Soccer’s Greatest Street Art.
As Brassell points out in his introduction, murals “speak for us when we’re still looking for the words to express that unconditional commitment and that shared understanding we have for our teams and their history. There’s no language, no loss of tone or nuance, no misunderstanding. Just admiration, aesthetic, passion and devotion.”
The 89-page adventure features marvellous renderings of many of the current Champions League’s biggest stars, from Lionel Messi to Kylian Mbappé, Harry Kane to Mo Salah. Some are classic portraits, others display a more abstract approach. All radiate love. Mammoth pictures on the end of a row of terraced housing are a time-worn favourite in the United Kingdom. In Spain, France, Italy, Brazil and Argentina, public walls and tower blocks are the preferred canvas.