!Golazo! recounts the story of Latin American football: the extravagantly talented players; pistol-toting referees; bloody coup d'etats; breath-taking goals; invidious conspiracies; strikers with matinee idol looks and a taste for tango dancers; alcoholism; suicide and some of the most exhilarating teams ever to take the field. But it is also gripping social history. Andreas Campomar shows how the sport that started as the eccentric pastime of a few ex-pat cricket players has become a defining force, the architect of national identity and a reflection of the region's soul. How can you hope to understand this tumultuous and disparate collection of young republics without first understanding the game that has become such a dominant presence in every corner of South American society? Including not only the well-known heroes of 'the beautiful game' - Garrincha, Maradona, Pele, Schiaffino, Di Stefano, Sanchez and Messi - but also the numerous forgotten gems of Latin American football - 'The Black Chief', Obdulio Varela; Heleno de Freitas, the Brazilian who squandered his talent and died half-mad with syphilis; the unstoppable River Plate of La Maquina; El Ballet Azul, the Colombian team who were so lavishly gifted that they all but dispensed with defending and the indomitable Bolivian team of the early 1990s - !Golazo! is the extraordinary tale of how football came to define a continent.