Something to read during the off-season…?

Many of you will be aware that this used to be a weekly, if not daily blog.

That was until I decided to take three months off to write a book.

A year and a half later, it is finally finished, and I can get back to my blogging ways.


I don’t think I’ve missed too much in the meantime: just the downfall of Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and FIFA, (almost); Spanish football dominating European competitions, with 3 out of 4 finalists in the two biggest competitions on the continent, and 2 of the 2 winners, (whoever wins the upcoming repeat of the 2014 Champions League Final between the two Madrid teams, after Sevilla won a ridiculous third straight Europa Cup, and their fifth in ten years!); and my beloved Benfica winning their third straight league title, and 35th ever, a point ahead of city rivals Sporting.

Oh, and the greatest shock in British footballing history, with Leicester City defying the odds to win the Premier League.


Looks like I have some catching up to do.

But in the meantime, you can pick up a copy of my book, ‘Benfica to Brazil’, detailing my travels following the World Cup across the globe for the past 19 years. It’s full of history, culture, comedy and tragedy, and a fair bit of footie too.

You can order it now from any major book seller, (from AMAZON to BARNES&NOBLE to THE BOOK DEPOSITORY, and even on KINDLE), and if you would like a PDF or a version for another eReader, just let me know.

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Also, I can arrange for discounted copies to be delivered anywhere in the US of A (where I find myself now living; yet another minor change over the past 18months), and these copies will come signed, dedicated, and possibly even featuring a special gift.

It’s good to be back: I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labour! 

Portugal Soccer


65. Benfica to Brazil the Book: UPDATE!

Over a year has passed since the glory days of Brazil 2014, and with FIFA falling apart around our ears, (although not quite enough yet); Benfica falling apart around the League, (although not in the Champions League); and José Mourinho and Chelsea falling apart in pretty much everything, I have been keeping busy turning my experiences in Brazil, and across the world and through the years, into a book.


This week, I finished the first draft of ‘Benfica to Brazil,’ and for the next few weeks I will be editing, polishing, cutting and extending it to make it the best book you have ever read about football, travel, sports, Benfica, and life.

Check out the update here, and if you haven’t signed up for a copy in advance, there will be copies available when it is published, in physical and e-book form, in a few months: just drop me an email to reserve yours!


63. My year of football blogging, 2014…

I have been writing my book blog for just over three years, and in all that time I was proud to have had 16,039 people drop by to read it.

doron panini

In the eight months since I launched this football blog, it has received over 27,000 views since it began on Friday May 27th, with a frankly ridiculous 7,149 people dropping by on one day alone.

This was blog entry number six, my first on Lisbon, and proved the power of my newest team: Benfica, with its 250,000+ fans around the world, the most supported club in the world, and most of them (you!) seem to have stopped by my blog, for which I thank you.


My readers came from 110 countries!! This is a truly ridiculous number, around twice the number I  have visited, and shows the fact that whilst there were only 32 countries in the World Cup, football is a worldwide sport, (and again highlights Benfica’s global reach, as I explain to both the tourists on my Lisbon walking tours, and in a blog about them here).

Understandably, more of my readers came from my current home country, Portugal, closely followed by the USA and UK…so there is absolutely no correlation between my readers’ locations and national footballing prowess.

(My apologies to US readers, whose team actually did quite well!)


Oh, and I also funded (and am in the process of writing) A BOOK! Which you are all welcome to read!

Feel free to check out my Wordpress annual report here, and drop me a comment letting me know what you are looking forward to reading about in the coming year.

HAPPY 2015!!


62. Benfica to Brazil: the book is ready to launch!

A happy 2015 to all of you out there, wherever you are.

Whether you are a Brazilian football fan trying to forget that game, a Benfica fan trying to remember all of those trophies from last season (but forget that final, and that curse), or a follower of another team, or even another sport, (or none at all!), I hope 2015 brings you everything you hope for.

(Unless you hope for your team to beat one of my teams, of course.)



One thing it may bring you is a copy of the Sports Book of the Year™ – ‘Benfica to Brazil.’ My first published work is now fully funded thanks to the crowd-funding site Kickstarter, and over a hundred lovely people who want to read more of my adventures following football (and other sports, and fun, and languages…), around the globe.

If you read this before January 7th, you can join them in ordering the book and even having your name added to the back of it. Just go to the Kickstarter page, choose your reward, and sit back until March!


If you’re reading this at a later date, there should be details of how and where to buy your copy of the book on the Kickstarter page…but you will have wait for my next book to get your name in the Thank You’s!

More football news in future blogs, but probably not as regularly as they used to be, as I may be a little busy writing in the coming weeks…

56. Brazil’s Second Broken Heart…

We all know that Brazil had their hearts broken in the semi-final against Germany.

Well, more like they had their hearts swiftly removed, stomped on, kicked around and fired into the net seven times.


Brazil’s worst nightmare…

It could even have been worse, with German defender Matt Hummels admitting in an interview that they decided at half-time to take it easy on the hosts after racing to a 5-0 lead.

How bad was the match? It was so shocking to the world that it became the most discussed sports match ever on Twitter, with 35.6 million tweets, and local newspaper Globo gave all of the Brazilian players, and the coach, 0/10 in their match ratings.



This was the second time Brazilian football had found itself ripped to shreds, the first being the infamous loss to neighbours Uruguay in 1950. As the Guardian said of the Germany semi-final:

The Mineiraço, as it is already being called in an echo of the deep impact of the 1950 Maracanazo when Uruguay defeated Brazil in the final the last time the tournament was held here, was variously described as “the disgrace of all disgraces” and “a historic humiliation”. The sports paper Lance called it “the biggest shame in history”.

What most people don’t know, but I learned from Alex Bellos’s book: ‘Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life,’ is that the match in 1950 wasn’t actually the World Cup Final. The tournament in those days ended in a group phase, and it just so happened that Uruguay and Brazil were the only two teams left with a chance to top the group, and were playing each-other in the last game. That’s why even a draw would have handed the cup to Brazil, as they had won both of their games, (against Sweden and Spain), whereas Uruguay had only drawn with Spain.


The lasting impression that match left on the Brazilian footballing mentality, (until being supplanted on 8th July 2014), has been beautifully  explained in cartoon format in this incredible New York Times feature.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to sign up for details of ‘Benfica to Brazil – the book’!

53. Greetings from Rio!…

Yesterday was the first day since I began the blog when I haven`t written to you,  so suffering mild withdrawal symptoms, I have sought out a cyber-cafe on Copacabana beach just to say: hi.

I jumped on a 2-hour flight from Salvador to Rio on Thursday, and had two hours at the airport to wait for my buddy Andreas to arrive on a later flight. I took the opportunity to stand at the arrivals gate with a hand-made sign, asking for a ticket to the Final in four languages.

Surprisingly, four different people came to me telling me they had them: two were asking silly money, two took my number and said they would get back in touch.

They haven`t.



All aboard the Doron-mobile…

The past48-hours must have happened because it`s now Saturday afternoon, and I am about to head to the enormous Fanfest on the famous beach here to watch Holland vs Brazil in the pointless 3rd/4th place play off. But all I really remember about it is the lovely, fun, crazy people I´ve met and hung around with, the rain which has been torrential, and lots and lots of beer and caipirinha.

If anyone needs a place to stay in Rio, I know the name of a good 24-hour bar in the city centre.

So, no new photos today as they are all still in my phone, and I don´t know when next I will get to a computer, so amuse yourselves with past blogs, and wish me luck as I spend the next 24-hours online, on forums, on people´s shoulders on the street, and on tenderhooks searching for that elusive ticket…

And don´t forget to sign up for details of the forthcoming Benfica to Brazil book!


48. The Semi-Finals Await…

It’s time for another two-day break, and a chance to catch your breath before the semi-finals.
After Friday saw the first semi-final decided, with hosts Brazil taking on the ever-consistent Germans, yesterday was the turn of Argentina and Holland to set up the other mouth-watering Euro-American last four.
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A meeting of minds…

It was a day of mixed feelings for me, as I was heading to possibly my last game of the tournament, and definitely the final one here in Salvador.

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