I have written about football – or “soccer” – from every continent on Earth. OK, except Antarctica. My work has been published in The New York Times and The Guardian, among others. For eight years I covered the sport for The Sun-Herald newspaper in Sydney. I’ve interviewed Sepp Blatter, been kissed on both cheeks by Mohammed Bin Hammam, and stood next to Leonel Messi in the Barcelona changing rooms when he was 16 years old. I’m the author of two books on football, one of which was made into a documentary film – The Away Game – and won an Italian Emmy. That achievement required I give a speech to an audience in Palermo, Italy, in Italian, a language I speak particularly little of. But I got a few laughs.

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