“Football is a form of culture, made in and by the collective watching of the event, the follow-up argument and analysis, the folklore that is passed down from generations. It is soap opera on grass, providing main narratives, sidelines, unlikely diversions, wonderful arrays of character" - The Cambridge Companion to Football


 I always room with Leo the night before an international game and have done since 2005.

He tends to fall asleep quite quickly and the only thing that annoys him is that I like to watch TV with the sound down.

When I fall asleep, he wakes up and comes looking for the remote. When he’s asleep I have to tiptoe to the toilet and stop my phone from vibrating in case it wakes him up.

Recently the fitness coach who organises where everyone sleeps suggested single rooms for everyone. Leo said that was fine, but Sergio and me are staying together!

When one of us is not there, we’ll be on our own in the room. Last time when he was missing he sent me a text saying, ”Who have they put you with?”

I texted back: ‘‘Don’t worry about it, love – I’m alone!”. But he shot back: ”Don’t be cheating on me!’’  ”


Captains Messi and Ronaldo before the game.