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14 Best Soccer Documentaries Of All Time

The rich history of soccer has led to some very interesting stories throughout the years. Many people have tried to put together documentaries ranging from individual players to teams, but only a few have truly stood out as the best of the best.

These 14 below are some of the best documentaries to watch, regardless of what soccer teams a person follow on a regular basis. They tell interesting stories in interesting ways to draw the viewer in as much as possible.

1. Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

The story of Zinadine Zidane is not done yet, but he’s playing days are well past him. In 2006, a documentary was put together that covers just a single match of his career.

In the match, Zidane was playing for Real Madrid, and a total of 17 cameras followed every single move he made. It is definitely a different type of documentary, and one that has received a lot of praise for thinking outside the box and creating something new and unique.

2. Once In A Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos

The New York Cosmos, at one point, looked like they were the biggest thing in sports. They had world-famous players on their roster, they were helping to grow the game of soccer, and they were ready to take on just about any team out there.

Unfortunately, the team fell apart just as quickly as it became a power. With some financial troubles, the team never took over in North America like they thought they would. It would be a while before soccer would get a legitimate chance again, but this is a look at what the team could accomplish in New York City.

3. Hillsborough

Most soccer fans have heard of that day when 96 supporters of Liverpool died on the terraces at Leppings Lane, but they might not know the whole story. One of the best to tell the story is this ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries, where they capture some of the raw emotions from that particular day.

The number of people they talk to for the documentary is also pretty remarkable, helping people relive a disastrous day in the history of the sport. It is tastefully done, and one that sits with many people out there to this day.

4. Sunderland ‘Til I Die

It was a tough fall from grace when Sunderland was sent down after a disastrous season in 2017. Netflix captured their following campaign as they aimed to bounce back to the Champions League.

Unfortunately for Sunderland, the cameras instead captured a football club that was really struggling in so many different ways. They were not living up to expectations, and it was weighing on all the supporters from the northeast side of the city. They do a great job with this documentary, and anyone who follows the Premier League should give it a try.

5. Pelada

There are a few people who believe that this is the best soccer documentary of all time. It follows two former college soccer players who were not able to make it as professionals. They do whatever they can to keep playing the game they love, going around the world and coming across so many different types of people.

Many people are motivated to get out there and play once again once they watch the documentary. Even if they are not considered the professional players they were hoping to become, they chase what they truly love.

6. All or Nothing: Manchester City

During the 2017-2018 season, Manchester City really took off as the top club team in England. This is a look at that level of success in a different way that allows people to relive that remarkable year.

It is sometimes tough to find all types of access from a Premier League club. This is the first time people were able to see such a candid view, and Manchester City had the perfect season to do exactly that.

7. George Best: All By Himself

The life of George Best is perfect for any documentary. So many people have tried to tackle what he brings to the table, but no one does it better than this film. He was one of the best to play, but a battle with alcoholism is going to be one of the defining moments of his life.

Too many people who support Manchester United, he is still an all-time great. Even if he passed away more than 15 years ago, the Northern Irishman is still recognized very much. Being able to do a deep dive into his life is something that ESPN did an excellent job of beginning to end.

8. Next Goal Wins

There is nothing quite like trying to get an undermanned team to the top of the soccer world for the ultimate underdog story. That is exactly what was attempted for the 2014 World Cup, as American Samoa tried to do whatever they could to qualify.

This documentary shows the highs and lows of that run. No one really knew what to expect, and although they came up short, it is interesting to see just how little they have as far as resources are concerned. Instead of getting all of the looks of the haves, it is interesting to view the have nots.

9. Take The Ball, Pass The Ball

One of the most enjoyable teams in recent memory was the Barcelona squad led by Pep Guardiola. They showed that they could dominate like few other teams in the game’s history, but they did so with a type of flair that is hard to match.

What makes them so special is that they also could move the ball with so much skill and ability that made them impossible to stop. This is a way for people to get a better look at this dominant team, including some of the all-time greats on the squad, such as Lionel Messi.

10. Graham Taylor: An Impossible Job

Being the boss of England’s national team can be one of the toughest jobs in all sport. There is so much pressure in succeeding, and when a person fails to match expectations, they are quickly vilified as someone unable to come through when they are needed most.

In 1982, this documentary was put together following Graham Taylor and his squad. Viewers get a chance to look at meetings with players, interactions with the media, and more. It is such a good documentary that it inspired one of the best soccer films of all time, Mike Bassett: English manager.

11. Diego Maradona

With star Argentina player Diego Maradona now passed away, it is time to look at some of the most powerful documentaries covering the superstar. Put out by HBO in 2019, Diego Maradona might be the best of the best.

HBO was able to obtain a lot of unseen footage that people are crazy about overall. They could see the brilliance on the field, but some of the background information, such as drugs and gangsters affiliated with the star.

Anyone who wants to make sure that they know quite a bit about one of the game’s true superstars should give this a legitimate try before any of the others bearing his name.

12. The Referees

It is easy to hate on referees at all levels of soccer. They are the ones that get all the blame for when things go wrong, and it would seem like a documentary following a single referee would be a waste of time.

However, it is anything but that, as Martin Hansson stars as a referee that makes it all the way to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. As luck would have it, it also ends up being Hansson who makes the call on the Thierry Henry handball. It is a remarkable, different type of soccer documentary watch.

13. Becoming Zlatan

There might not be a more interesting player currently going right now than Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedish stand-out is still playing professional soccer, but this documentary available on Netflix looks at some of his early days.

Like a lot of superstars, he did not come from the best situation growing up. The son of immigrants, he had to work hard to become the superstar that he has today. Getting a look at another side of the superstar is certainly one worth checking out.

14. Istanbul United

The three biggest soccer clubs in Istanbul have quite a bitter rivalry. It has gone on for years, but it has really been at the forefront in recent years. With political unrest in Turkey, it does not seem to be getting any better.

This documentary looks at all of the highs and lows of being a fan of all three teams. It is an interesting view for people who might not know much about just how passionate Turkish soccer fans are about their favorite club teams.