The Men Who Sold the World Cup was produced and directed by Daniel DiMauro and Morgan Pehme, two fellows who have built their careers with documentaries that explain corruption and evil-doing in a very accessible and entertaining way. This docuseries shows how corruption is cultivated and how difficult it is to capture the bad guys at the top of an organized crime hierarchy like FIFA.
From what I read about Diego Maradona when he was alive, it was not easy to get him or his inner circle to talk about the unsavory side of his life. Drugs, alcohol, gangsters, infidelities, children that he refused to acknowledge, more drugs… To reveal the truth would mean falling out of favor and losing access to the man, his money, and his celebrity. So it isn’t surprising that those who worked closely with him did not come forward until this documentary, pretty much just a month after he died.
Truth be told, I watched the 3-part Angel City docuseries a couple of weeks ago, but I just couldn’t get myself to write this review. The series shows a lot about Angel City FC that I hadn’t known, and I was glad to learn it. But the coverage of the startup and inaugural year of a womens soccer team is laid out more like a business and marketing case study than a soccer story.
The idea for Headless Chickens (Pollos Sin Cabeza) sprang from the heads of Pokeepsie Films. Although not football fans themselves, they figured when footballers and their agents are flush with money, there are many opportunities for sh*t to happen. They went to Writer and showrunner Jorge Valdano Sáenz to develop the concept.
Bit by bit, HBO Max has gotten onto the fútbol bandwagon, and so far, they have put some very entertaining productions online. If you are a student of refereeing, narco-fútbol, or sports corruption, you will especially enjoy the documentary Dangerous Play (original title is Jugada Peligrosa) by Director Matías Gueilburt.
It’s a shame that shows like Las Bravas F.C. get so little traction and attention in the world of futbol. It’s a cute, entertaining series that abounds with examples and themes of diversity, inclusion, and female footballer role models. Lead actor Mauricio Ochmann is a popular telenovela star with a charisma that echoes Ryan Reynolds and with an unnerving resemblance to Mikel Arteta. But I only came across this enjoyable series while scrolling through HBO Max. So I suggest you watch it while you can.
Having reviewed so many Maradona films and series, I was sorely confused when I began to watch the Argentine docuseries Bilardo, el doctor del fútbol. In all the Maradona shows I’ve seen, coach Carlos Bilardo is portrayed as a very minor but unpleasant character, someone who calls the shots for the Argentina NT but otherwise is buried in the background. So for me, this 4-episode HBOMax docuseries is a soccer revelation that thoroughly describes the man behind Maradona’s success.