21 | JUL 2019
16 MAR | 2014
Øthers from Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
Playing football in Iraq is first and foremost a matter of imagination
Another inspiring picture from Riccardo Romani, right next to the Tigris River, proves that it's not necessary to have a state-of-the-art stadium to feel like a world champion.

he foul line is the Tigris River. The goal is an imaginary line in the mind of a 14 year-old kid wearing a Ronaldo shirt. Life in Iraq is about imagination. More than 10 years after the invasion, reality is too harsh to be grasped by anyone. Normality is the kind of luxury nobody can afford. Football is no exception. With the National Team freshly qualified for the Asian Cup final tournament, Iraq's people can only imagine how would be to watch their idols live, from a stand. In 2013 FIFA has extended the ban on games played on Iraq soil. It would be too dangerous, in a country where only [...]

Journalist, writer, producer and director. Has been following stories worldwide for over 20 years. His reportages include chronicles from Somalia, Iraq, Mongolia, Haiti and Afghanistan. Works for Sky Tg24 and has written and directed The Election Game and Coca Nostra. In 2007 he has produced The Possibility of Hope with Alfonso Cuarón. His first novel is Le cose brutte non esistono.
[...] in 2013, almost 8000 people were killed by terrorist attacks, the worst year since 2008.

The cafes with satellite tv become stadiums, the grumpy bartenders are mistaken for lineups announcer. It is all about imagination. The 14 year-old kid with Ronaldo's shirt waits for his chance to play over the arid pitch close to the Tigris River. But one thing for sure: he can clearly smell the grass freshly cut. [Ø]

Riccardo Romani