Novels and football: difficult marriage. Football has been written about ad nauseambut you could count on the fingers of one hand (both hands, if you’re feeling generous) that have managed to turn football into a powerful fictional story and, above all, that have managed to defy the passage of time with a good one to defy face.
The recent release of “Moneda al aire” written by Sergio V. Jodar (born 1992 in Barcelona) expands this catalog of entertaining, well-constructed and fully compelling football novels.
The novel tells the story of three characters whose paths will cross: Jacobo Fandiño, a player who is still young but in a sea of existential doubts and who has just signed with a great team; Bruna Vila, a journalist of strong character who manages to get ahead through effort and talent, and Vicente Parrado, supporter of a team in decline, dangerously betting man, abandoned by his wife and responsible for caring for his ailing father.
The plot develops with you the pace of a Premier League game: fast-paced, intense, funny. It doesn’t expire. And it is peppered with curious details and funny phrases.
There is a lot of literature in the writings of Sergio V. Jodar, but also a lot of streets. And the mix is appreciated. Although the tone seems to be aimed at very young readers, the style is also suitable for boomers. “Currency in the Air”, published by Panenka, was a finalist in the Ateneo de Valladolid Prize in 2022.
Beyond the story, “Moneda al aire” serves as proof that not everything is as it seems in football: in reality, very few things are as they seem in football. The doubts, the insomnia and the sentimental problems that plague Fandiño. Also the hierarchies in the locker rooms and the toxic relationships between the players.
Or between journalists and players, always complicated, always motivated by interest. The frustration of fans, increasingly distant from their idols, was focused more and more on the screens and less on occupying their seats in the stadium.
“Moneda al aire” is a fresh and spontaneous novel. Football player through and through, but suitable for readers with little interest in the ball. It is the story of a generation – those who have had to survive in the age of social networks, but also those who have just been surpassed, if not devastated, by this new generation.