Running time: 64 minutes
First of all let me come clean by admitting that I’m a huge football fan and that to me, Maradona is the greatest football player of all time. A certain Lionel Messi may have something to say on that score and while there may be some legitimacy to Messi’s credentials, he still has some way to go in emulating his predecessor, let alone superceding him.
Now that’s out of the way, you will be able to gauge that this review is not wholly objective. That fits in nicely with the artistic direction of this documentary film on Argentina’s favourite son. I didn’t realise it before I watched the movie but this was more an ode to Maradona from his adoring fans rather than an objective study of the man. But that suits me fine.
The film sort of documents the major periods in Maradona’s career from the viewpoint of the supporting cast around him at the time. For instance, it features a couple of guys from his neighbourhood of Villa Fiorito who talk about discovering Maradona as a little kid and knowing even then that this boy was destined for greatness.
We’re shown the field that the young Maradona used to play in and how it’s revered by the locals as an almost historical monument.
In fact, that is the thrust of the whole film. The passion, ardour and love that Maradona’s fans have for him. It borders on the insane at times but there is no denying the impact that this “god” of football has had on his devotees. From tattoos of his visage to the various songs written about him and to a full-blown Church of Maradona, these fans have gone to great lengths to express their love for their football deity.
Maradona himself appears in the movie via an interview and as this film was made circa 2005, we see an overweight and paunchy Maradona, probably after his heart attack following a cocaine overdose and before undergoing gastric bypass surgery to dramatically reduce his ballooning weight. It was kind of sad to see the once great Maradona in this way but fortunately he did recover from his travails to eventually lead Argentina as their manager, albeit not very successfully, into the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Maradona is still the only footballer who has broken the world record transfer fee twice – first when he was bought by Barcelona, and later when he was bought by Napoli. Napoli was where his star truly shone and the people of Naples, as well as the world, were captivated by this diminutive genius with the magical left foot.
This film also spends some time on one of the biggest debates in world football over who was the greatest player of all time – Pele or Maradona? For me, it will always be Diego. Great watch for football-loving families, especially if you want to know more about the man who is arguably the greatest footballer the world has ever seen. - Review by S.N.