This Al Jazeera commissioned series took a penetrating look at some players that gave a shit about more than just what happened on the pitch.
Among the portraits are Rachid Mekhloufi, who togged out for the Algerian national liberation team during the 1958 World Cup. And of course, Brazil’s Socrates: who with his Corinthian teammates challenged government repression. They’d probably have a thing or two to say about the treatment dished out to favella residents around this tournament too.
A year ago amidst a sea of football scandals and shocking reports of the realities of the World Cup for the poor of Brazil, film maker Gilles Rof described the genesis of the project:
Gilles Perez and I wanted to make the series, Football Rebels, because of the anger we felt towards football stars that were only driven by money and fame. This did not fit in with what we feel and what we know about football.
The idea was to tell football stories of yesterday and today. We wanted to focus on the giants of football, the undoubted talents of the sport. The footballers who were crowned and admired in their times but who also completely transcended the mere status of athletes.
If you can get past the cod poetics of Cantona, then this could be rather enjoyable. Also, if you, like me, are letting the World Cup slide by unwatched through sheer lack of sporting interest, then consider this fuel for those moments when you need something football related during a chat.
Take a look at the whole series here.