The eagerly awaited autobiography of one of the most colourful and enigmatic footballers in the game today. Wherever he has played, David Ginola has dazzled with his virtuoso skills, while off the field he has become a major sex symbol and an international celebrity.
Ginola is a man in demand. Everywhere he goes he attracts attention, whether it be mesmerising defenders on the field or parading down the catwalks of Paris and Milan away from football. He’s as likely to be seen making the headlines in Hello! and the tabloid front pages as in the sports columns.
But is there more to Ginola, the ‘sex symbol’? In his autobiography, he provides a compelling insight into his private life which few outsiders know about. He talks candidly about the women closest to him, his work for the Red Cross and anti-landmines campaign and the pressures of being a huge media star constantly under the spotlight.
It wasn’t always so good for Ginola. In his early years in France, he describes the traumas of his army national service and how, as a footballer, he went from being the most hated man in France to Footballer of the Year in the same season. He describes in detail his relationship with a certain Eric Cantona and his bust-ups with the authorities, as well as a reviled Gerard Houllier, which led to his controversial exclusion from the 1998 French World Cup squad.
On joining a Newcastle team under Kevin Keegan, Ginola was soon given the freedom of the Toon. He writes openly about those exciting days at St James’s Park, before the arrival of Kenny Dalglish led to his acrimonious departure to Spurs. Ginola is forthright about his mixed feelings on the arrival of George Graham at White Hart Lane and how their relationship developed, and his future at the club.
More recently, his critics have branded Ginola a cheat for diving. Ginola responds honestly to these accusations, as he does to the controversy surrounding his comments to the Oxford Union about Alan Shearer and foreigners in the game.
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"David Ginola is the murderer of the team ... he sent an Exocet missile through the heart of French football ... David Ginola committed a crime against the team, I repeat, a crime against the team."(Gerard Houllier)
Artistic, compelling, inspiring awe and derision in equal measure--and that's just the photo on the cover--Le Magnifique chronicles the life and times of David Ginola, who pirouetted into the Premiership in 1995, and has strutted around in the limelight ever since. As extravagantly vain as he is breathtakingly gifted--has any footballer's autobiography ever included quite so many magnificently smouldering photos?--Ginola is so shamelessly enamoured with himself that at times it's hard to take his version of events seriously, which will come as no surprise to the legions who dismiss him as a glory boy player more interested in split ends than tackling back. But the upside for readers of this wonderfully entertaining book, is that Ginola spills the beans, confronts his critics and has absolutely no qualms about sticking the boot into all the dullards, hypocrites and schemers who have frustrated him with their jealousy (of his talent and popularity), their stupidity (for not recognising his talent and popularity) and the petty, ugly way in which they conducted themselves (around someone so talented and popular). The hit-list runs to pretty much a who's who of European football, but fans of George Graham, Gerard Houllier, Alan Shearer and Kenny Dalglish should be warned that their favourites get a particularly good going over. Ginola's achievements have been significant, including cups and a championship in France, and a pile of "Player of the Year" awards, but there is no escaping the fact that his controversial exile from the French national team which went on to win World and European championships, has blighted his career. But for all the lingering sense of disappointment about a uniquely entertaining player being denied his place on the world stage, there is a flamboyance about Ginola that is irrepressible, and this book is as compelling as the man himself. A (hair)cut above the usual footballers' autobiographies. --Alex HankinFrom the Back Cover:
David Ginola is a man in demand. A footballer and celebrity in equal measure, someone who turns heads for his face as well as his feet, Tottenham's orchestrator – in – chief oozes charm, charisma and sex appeal. Never before has one footballer cast such a spell on the English game.
The wonderfully talented Frenchman has been honoured with both the English Football Writers and PFA Player of the Year accolades, reward for the breathtaking quality of goals and his crowd-pleasing skill on the ball. Yet his arrival in the English Premiership proved far from a smooth journey.
In his fascinating autobiography Ginola unveils his private thoughts on his early years in France: his National Service duties; his first steps in the game and his dismay when his coach at Nice told him he would never make it as a professional footballer; and how he went form being the most vilified player in his home country to Footballer of the Year in the same season.
His arrival at Newcastle in 1995 presaged a bitter-sweet affair with the Toon Army during the time of Kevin Keegan, then Kenny Dalglish and Alan Shearer of whom Ginola has some strong views. Just two years later a transfer to Tottenham preceded George Graham's arrival as manager and Ginola is forthright
Now 33, some sporting scars remain for the Frenchman. Why was he frozen out of France's national team and the '94 World Cup when at the peak of his career? Why did Gerard Houllier label him a 'criminal' for one misplaced back pass? Why was he never allowed to fulfil his dream of playing for Barcelona?
Outside of football, his presence on the catwalks, appearances in 'Hello!' and various TV advertisements have bracketed him with supermodels and led to pop star celebrity status, alongside his charity work and his role as ambassador for the Red Cross anti-landmines campaign. A devoted family man with strong views on the future of the English game, Ginola's story is one of drama, excitement and, above all, passion.
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