10 Amazing Football Documentaries To Watch Now


The Euros are over but it’s still four long weeks until the Premier League is back on our screens. To fill the hole, we’ve rounded up the very best football documentaries. From close-ups with legends – such as Zidane and Pelé – to underdog teams battling incredible odds, here are ten films that will keep the beautiful game alive this summer.

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

Turner Prize-winning filmmaker Douglas Gordon teamed up with French artist Philippe Parreno to create this captivating film, which focuses on the art of a wonderful footballer and the intensity of a live experience. Released in 2006 – the same year as Zinedine Zidane’s career-ending World Cup appearance – with a soundtrack by Scottish post-rock heroes Mogwai, the film trained 17 cameras on the French footballing legend during a Real Madrid home match with Villarreal. The result is a beautiful, rhythmic portrayal of the great man at work.

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There’s no bigger figure in football history than Pelé. Earlier this year, Netflix paid homage to the only player ever to win three World Cups with a documentary that mixes archive footage with exclusive interviews to reveal just what made him so special. As well as unprecedented access to the man himself, the film includes interviews with legendary former team-mates including Zagallo, Jairzinho and Rivellino. The story looks back at the extraordinary 12-year period – a radical and turbulent era in Brazil’s history – during which Pelé went from young superstar in 1958 to national hero in 1970.

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Diego Maradona

Oscar-winning Asif Kapadia (Senna, Amy) directed this 2019 documentary about the controversial genius that was Diego Maradona. Widely acclaimed on its cinematic release, it showcases never-before-seen footage as it tracks the Argentinean World Cup winner’s career and personal life through seven tumultuous years as the star player of Napoli. After joining the club for a world-record fee, pressures on and off the pitch threaten his game. There are even interviews with the man himself – which loom all the larger following his death last winter.

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Sunderland ’Til I Die

This glorious two-series documentary gives the viewer unflinching access into the inner workings of Sunderland AFC, from the board to the admin staff, and the first team to the fans. A hit when originally released in 2018, the much-anticipated second series focused on new owner Stewart Donald and executive director Charlie Methven as they attempt to save the club from financial ruin and haul it out of England’s third tier. A true tribute to football fans.

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Kaiser! The Greatest Footballer To Never Play Football

Carlos Henrique Raposo – commonly known as Carlos Kaiser – is a Brazilian former footballer who played as a striker. Although his abilities were far short of professional standard, he managed to sign for numerous teams during his decade-long career. But how? In one of the more remarkable football stories ever told, Kaiser graduates from abandoned slumdog to star striker, dressing-room fixer and superstar party host, eventually enjoying a 26-year professional career as a footballer, without ever kicking a ball. This astonishing film features multiple interviews with Kaiser, as he reveals how he pulled off one of the biggest sporting cons of all time.

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The Two Escobars

The fates of two Colombians – Andrés Escobar, the inspirational captain of Nacional, and Pablo Escobar, the notorious leader of the Medellin cartel – have become permanently linked. At a time when drug money fuelled the sport known in the underworld as ‘narco-soccer’, the lives of Andrés and Pablo came to a head as they began to share more than just a surname. When Andres was murdered ten days after scoring an own goal against the USA in the first round of the 1994 World Cup, it cost the country more than a shot at the title.

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Finding Jack Charlton

Jack Charlton won the World Cup in 1966 playing alongside his brother, Bobby, in England’s greatest ever side. A proud Englishman, Jack applied for only one job in his subsequent career as a football manager: the England job. He never received a reply from the FA. Instead, he accepted an invitation to manage the Republic of Ireland, taking on a side that had never qualified for a major tournament and lifting them to the heights of a World Cup quarter-final.  Finding Jack Charlton tells the story of Jack’s special association with Ireland, examines his frustration with England and the FA, covers his complicated relationship with his brother Sir Bobby Charlton, and details his final battle with dementia.

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An Impossible Job

Originally broadcast by Channel 4 in 1994, An Impossible Job is a fly-on-the-wall documentary directed and produced by Ken McGill. The film follows the England football team through the 18 months before, during and after their failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, revealing the pressure manager Graham Taylor was under before his resignation. Famous for creating the footballing catchphrase “Do I not like that!”, this documentary still moves more than a quarter of a century later.

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Next Goal Wins

In 2001, the tiny Pacific island of American Samoa suffered a world record 31-0 defeat at the hands of Australia. A decade after that humiliating night, they remain rooted to the bottom of Fifa’s world rankings, having scored only twice in 17 years. Against this backdrop of serial underachievement, the team face the daunting prospect of a qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It would take a miracle-maker or a madman to turn the team's fortunes around. Enter maverick Dutch coach Thomas Rongen. 

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Take The Ball, Pass The Ball

For four explosive years, Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona produced some of the finest football in history, seducing fans around the world. In this exclusive, first-hand account of events between 2008 and 2012, the players themselves reveal the tension of Guardiola’s bitter rivalry with Real Madrid boss José Mourinho, the emotion of Eric Abidal's fight against cancer, and how Lionel Messi nearly didn't make it.

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