The Best Football Documentaries to Watch Now

The Best Football Documentaries to Watch Now

By March 23, 2020 Art & Culture

We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy at home. With the football world at a standstill, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite football documentaries you can watch online now! We hope one (or more) of these will help you pass the time at home and fill the football void in all of our lives.

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Player/Manager Biopics

Antoine Griezmann: The Making of a Legend

One of the unfortunate consequences of hard work is that it has a tendency to render itself invisible, basically because the more you practice the easier things appear. Such is the case of the elegant Antoine Griezmann, who, after literally hundreds of failed trials, was assured he was too diminutive and unfit for the modern game. Antoine Griezmann: The Making of a Legend is the tale of a boy who defied the odds and proved the skeptics wrong, rising instead to the summit of his profession, and to World Cup glory. This is a must-see.

watch on netflix

Ronaldo

Executive-produced by Asif Kapadia, who directed Senna (2010) and Amy (2015), Ronaldo was shot over the course of 14 months in Madrid and offers virtually never-before-seen access into Ronaldo’s private life. We all know he is self-driven, self-affirmed and self-practically everything – propelled by some inner interpretation of perfection. That said, beneath it all he’s a mama’s boy, a heedful friend and father, even a softie, but haunted by his own father’s self-destruction and committed wholly to the opposite. 

watch on amazon watch on youtube

Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager

“Tough, fair, and inspirational – just like the man himself,” writes The Telegraph of the film. Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager is the definitive portrait of the late English football manager. It’s not your typical biography consisting of archived footage and idle flattery from a lineup of talking heads, nor is it a linear birth-to-death story. Instead, it shows more heart, following Robson’s painful battles with life-threatening cancer, and his establishment of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Foundation. 

watch on netflix watch on amazon prime

Becoming Zlatan

This independent Swedish film offers a revealing look at a young, prickly-haired Zlatan from his early days at Malmö FF and AFC Ajax up to his breakthrough with Juventus in 2005. Zlatan is full of his trademark devilish wit and mischief, throughout. But the film is especially strong when it highlights the way his teammates and coaches collectively identify his unique talents and guide him at a time when he was vulnerable, even, dare we say, a little unsure of himself. Zlatan has since gone on to become one of the most decorated players in football history. 

watch on amazon prime watch on youtube watch on itunes

Forbidden Games – The Justin Fashanu Story

As an openly gay, black footballer in a homophobic and racist Britain of the 1980s, Fashanu’s life was at best turbulent and at worst tragic. The film documents a life and career that unfortunately never found peace. Fashanu played for nearly 20 clubs, always wrestling with the media rumors of his sexuality, finding some freedom in the nightclub scene of the 80s, before sadly taking his own life in 1998, at the age of 37. 

watch on netflix watch on amazon prime watch on youtube watch on google play

Le K Benzema

A film about the famed and controversial Franco-Algerian, Le K Benzema recalls Benzema’s early days at Olympique Lyonnais all the way to his current stardom at Real Madrid. Beneath Benzema’s headline grabbing sex scandal and his tumultuous relationship with the French national team, you are left with the impression of a misunderstood, shy man with a great loyalty for his hometown of Lyon. And, of course, there’s plenty of footage of him putting the ball in the back of the net as well. 

watch on netflix

Diego Maradona

Asif Kapadia’s latest work, Diego Maradona, offers a surprisingly tender take on Diego—the footballing genius who became “Maradona”. The film comes together like a tragedy set in a Scorsese-esque gangland, only with less violence and more hair. It’s created entirely from archived footage, often including gritty camcorder-grade video, the rawness of which only seems to enlarge Maradona’s myth. You are left with a deeper understanding of one of the world’s most complex footballers.

watch on hbo now watch on hulu

El Corazón de Sergio Ramos/The Heart of Sergio Ramos

The polarizing Sergio Ramos is often criticized for his on-field exploits and aggressive style of play, but off the field we know very little about where that fire comes from. This Amazon docuseries shares a glimpse into Ramos’ life, and is filled with telling anecdotes from his family, including one from his mother in which she reveals he broke his own brother’s nose while playing against him in a youth tournament. Sounds about right.  

watch on amazon prime

Steven Gerrard – Make Us Dream

A revelatory documentary about the Liverpool loyal,  Make Us Dream shows a different side of Gerrard as he speaks from his LA pad. The midfielder, whose name we all called as kids when taking aim on goal from the top of the box, holds nothing back as he reflects on the oppressive sense of responsibility he bore for the Liverpool team. For a player who we often saw with a furrowed brow, pinched eyes, and an almost pained expression, you can’t help being surprised by Gerrard’s relaxed manner as he wound down toward retirement.

watch on amazon prime

In Cruyff – The Last Match

There’s absolutely no doubt that Johan Cruyff is someone who had a unique influence on football both on the pitch and from the manager’s dugout. This film analyzes his historic signing to FC Barcelona in 1973, which marked not only a sporting revolution, but political, social, and cultural one as well. 

watch on amazon prime

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

This stunning French documentary is a video portrait of Zinedine Zidane, focusing on his smooth playing style as a merging of football and art. The film consists of every touch Zidane makes during a La Liga match played between Real Madrid and Villarreal on April 23, 2005 at the Bernabéu, and was filmed in real time using 17 synchronized cameras. During the last minutes of the match, Zidane is sent off as a result of a brawl, which many see now as a metaphor for his entire career – endless genius, punctuated by moments of madness. 

watch on youtube

Maradona in Mexico

“It was too crazy to be true,” says the series director, Angus Macqueen. “Maradona, a coke addict, going to the world capital of cocaine.” Maradona in Mexico is a mad parade from start to finish but undeniably enthralling at the same time. Documenting the controversial Argentinian’s stint as coach of Mexico’s Dorados de Sinaloa club from 2018-19 – a team that sat dead last in the standings when Maradona arrived – he attempts to inspire the team to victory. A journey which in many ways mirrors his own. We see an underdog, fallen from grace, leading other underdogs in an uphill climb from the depths of despair. Can he turn the club around, or will he just drive them further into disgrace?

watch on netflix

Teams

First Team: Juventus

First Team: Juventus is an American and Italian six-part docu-series following the club throughout the 2017–18 season as well as their round of 16 and quarter-final Champions League Champions League match-ups against Tottenham and Real Madrid. Though all a bit corporate and not quite as insightful as you might have hoped (unless you’re keen to learn that Gonzalo Higuain trims his beard every 15 days), the series is still an interesting watch, and you come away that much wiser to the calculated ambitions of the Italian club. 

watch on netflix

Sunderland ‘Til I Die

Historically, Sunderland has been defined by industries like shipbuilding and mining, but, with their decline, football has become even more important to the people in England’s North East. The docuseries follows Sunderland and its fans through the highs and lows of their first season in the Championship, following a painful relegation from the Premier League in 2017. Also, keep an eye out for Season 2 which is set to drop April 1st!

watch on netflix

Barça Dreams

Barça Dreams details the footballing history and philosophy of one of the world’s most legendary clubs. From its famous La Masía academy, which developed legendary figures like Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta, to the innovative visions of Johan Cruyff, its Catalan identity and deep-rooted rivalry with Real Madrid, the film offers a real encyclopedic schooling on what makes Barça “more than a club”. 

watch on netflix

Class of ‘92: Out of Their League

You’ve probably seen this one already, but it’s arguably worth a re-watch during the Premier League hiatus if only to remember what an amazing team Sir Alex Ferguson developed. Class of ‘92 examines the breakthrough of David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes at Manchester United and the role they played in helping the club achieve vast success in the 1990s, including their famous treble season in 1999, as well as their role in the wider cultural and political context of the time. 

watch on amazon prime

All or Nothing: Manchester City

Narrated by Oscar-winning actor and velvet tongued Ben Kingsley, the series goes behind the scenes of new kids on the block, Manchester City. The viewer is given an intimate look at what an entire season looks like for the team, how they prepare inside world-leading training facilities, the galvanizing effect that manager, Pep Guardiola, has had on the entire staff, and their utter determination to penetrate global culture and become the biggest club in the world. 

watch on amazon prime

Inside Borussia Dortmund

Similar to All of Nothing: Manchester City Amazon offers another slick, polished behind-the-scenes docuseries this time about German side’s 2018/19 season. The film details the day to day goings-on at the club, but despite leading the table by 6 points at the start of the documentary, it’s far from a fluffy feel good story about the team from North Rhine-Westphalia.

watch on amazon prime

Take the Ball, Pass the Ball

Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka football shook the foundations of the game between 2008 and 2012, and whether you thought it was beautiful or downright annoying it could not be ignored, nor its success denied. Based on the book “Barça: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World” by football journalist Graham Hunter Take the Ball, Pass the Ball offers an exclusive, first-hand account of that iconic Barcelona era, the heated Mourinho-Guardiola rivalry, and the assembly and operation of arguably the greatest football team there has ever been. 

watch on amazon prime

Take Us Home

Leeds United have endured a terrible fall from grace over the last decade, and while the “fallen giants” once played in their bright whites at the top flight of English football, financial decay and waning results contributed to a disastrous collapse. Take Us Home, narrated by boyhood Leeds fan Russell Crowe, documents the journey back to the promised land under new owner Andrea Radrizzani and coach Marcelo Bielsa.

watch on amazon prime

Les Bleus: Une Autre Histoire de France

This film tells the broad story of the French national side from 1996-2016, covering the highest of highs in winning the World Cup in 1998, to a fractured and disgruntled team in decline, French-Algerian tension, and Zizou’s mad headbutt in 2006. The film tells all about the successes and setbacks of the team and how it mirrored the larger French society as a whole. 

watch on netflix

Inside a Volcano – The Rise of Icelandic Football

Euro 2016 was the glittering moment in a golden age of Icelandic football. The documentary tracks the team through qualification up to their stunning performance at the tournament where they became the smallest nation ever to reach a quarter final of a major tournament. Weaving in footage of the team’s biggest stars when they were wide-eyed kids, and revealing how the team prepared on and off the pitch, the film successfully tells the fairytale story of a team that defied everyone’s expectations.

watch on vimeo

Events/Occasions/Narratives/Controversy

Keane & Vieira: Best of Enemies

Two titans of the English game, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira’s battles on the pitch (and in the tunnel) are the stuff of legend. The highlight of this film is undoubtedly Keane and Vieira reminiscing together about the good old days when dedication and passion meant leaving blood on the pitch. In between steely gazes, the film covers the successful careers of both players and at times becomes a meditation on the way football has changed since the advent of the Premier League. The one-on-one is like watching two fierce tigers circling each other looking for signs of weakness. If you’re in the UK you can find it on Amazon Prime, but if not you can also find the entire film uploaded onto Youtube in two parts.

Watch Part 1

Sons of Ben

A rousing, fist-pumping story of a small group of die-hard American soccer fans in Philadelphia who took matters into their own hands to help bring a team to their hometown. What resulted was a powerful and irrepressible movement that not only would change the soccer landscape in Philadelphia, but help to revive a community that had been struggling for decades. 

watch on netflix watch on amazon prime watch on youtube

Planet FIFA

FIFA is the governing body of the world’s most beloved sport, and yet it is one of the most hated companies in the world. Rotten with corruption, controversy, and scandal, the company that began with idealistic intentions had become a monster that propagated the opposite of everything it sought to achieve. Though this film surely doesn’t answer all our questions, nor reveal all the truth, it is entertaining in its own way.

watch on amazon prime

Trainer!

Trainer! is the culmination of six months of research and one year of filming by German football movie maestro Aljoscha Pause, and takes a look at three young German professional soccer coaches, Frank Schmidt, André Schubert and Stephan Schmidt. The film is a skillful and nuanced exposé that shows just well Pause knows the game. 

watch on netflix

Soccer City

Soccer City is a collection of profiles of five individuals born and raised in the oldest and most notorious of South Africa’s townships, Alexandra, known by locals as “Alex”. Collectively, what you see is a complicated country still transitioning to a post-apartheid existence, and the cultural importance that soccer has had in mending the nation and uniting its people. 

watch on amazon prime

This is Football

A broad stroke six-part documentary series that explores the emotions, stories, passions and triumphs at the heart of the world’s most loved sport. This is Football conducts interviews with a vast array of characters from all over the world, including coaches, priests, and world leaders, all discussing the universal themes of the human experience including redemption, belief, chance, love, pride, and wonder. 

watch on amazon prime

The Workers Cup

The Workers Cup lifts FIFA’s proverbial curtain to reveal the stories of the migrant workers from Nepal, India, Ghana and Kenya who are building a new stadium for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. After long laboring under unforgiving conditions sometimes illegally seven days a week, returning to cramped camps away from their families, the men are offered a  glimmer of redemption – they are allowed to play in a soccer tournament of their own, known as the Workers Cup.

watch on amazon prime

 

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