Cristiano Ronaldo: The World At His Feet: Soccer DVD Documentary Review

Cristiano Ronaldo World at his Feet Big

Rating: 4.5/5 Moving, emotional, fast-paced documentary which shows you Ronaldo from all sides – good and bad. A must watch
Background

Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016 is on fire. Already having won the Champions League in 2016 including scoring the winning penalty, he won Euro 2016 with some superb performances and goals including a spectacular back heeled goal against Hungary and a salmon like leap to head in a goal in the semi-final against Wales. Ronaldo is by far the favorite to win the Ballon d’Or for 2016.

But, let’s take a step back and really examine Ronaldo. First of all on a side note, this film was made in or for 2014, and Ronaldo is still lighting the world up two years later. Whilst that may seem obvious to us, doing so is not easy and that already shows his class. Just think of Kaka, winner of the 2007 Ballon d’Or and how he faded away. Or Ronaldinho who won the Ballon d’Or the year before him and also never really reached the same levels. So Ronaldo definitely has the Obsession for Perfection.

Coming from poverty

We have already reviewed the really excellent Ronaldo DVD . That DVD is like the Amy DVD which was based on the life of Amy Winehouse or Senna after Ayrton Senna, the racing driver. In the Ronaldo DVD, we basically are with Ronaldo and his family almost all the time, with no narration or commentary from others. It is like being there and being a part of his family.

This DVD is narrated by the world famous actor Benedict Cumberbatch. He has appeared in the BBC TV Series Sherlock and in a Star Trek movie as well as playing Hamlet amongst many other roles. He brings a really good approach and we actually forget about him and focus on the subject Ronaldo.

This movie rounds out the other one. We start by learning of his upbringing in poverty which was not really explained in the other film. We are talking real poverty in Madeira. Ronaldo and his family lived in a tin shack where the roof would leak. Ronaldo the youngest child had to share and live in one room with his three siblings.

Ronaldo

We also learn how alone he was and which was shown in the Ronaldo film. Basically he has spent a lot of his life alone and isolated. In Madeira he had few friends except for a football he found abandoned in an alleyway. This ‘friend’ was what he practiced with everyday often missing meals and sometimes school. Playing against a wall.

At the age of 12 he moved to Lisbon to play for Sporting Lisbon, 600 miles away from home. He was bullied by a lot of people according to the film because of his Madeiran accent. He got so angry after a while that at aged 14, he threw a chair at someone and was expelled.

And we find out he had a heart condition which he needed to be operated on aged only 15.

His rise to stardom

We then see probably what a lot of people are familiar with. The friendly between Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United which led to Sir Alex Ferguson signing him aged 17. And how Arsene Wenger thought he had Ronaldo!

We see how Ferguson managed him and the pressure of the infamous 2006 World Cup wink when Ronaldo played a part in getting his team mate Wayne Rooney sent off.

Another Side of Ronaldo

Some of the most heart-wrenching parts of this film come from the many moments of philanthrophy and generosity from Ronaldo. From paying for the education of the little boy who survived the tsunami of 2004 whilst wearing a Ronaldo shirt to writing to a Floridian judge to ask for him to not pursue criminal charges against the young pitch invader who hugged Ronaldo. And other things such as when a family asked Ronaldo for a shirt and signed shoes for them to auction to raise money for an operation for their sick child. Ronaldo paid for the whole operation himself.

And many other sides to him. Such as his star sign of Aquarius wanting to be in the limelight and be seen. His selection of cars is examined. And his fashion sense and how it has matured including his own fashion line.

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He is apparently the most Googled athlete in the world. And the most divisive. We examine his selection of cars.

A DVD worth watching

This DVD which was put together with stock footage and interviews with many unfamiliar places actually works really well with the excellent narration and direction. You will see Ronaldo in ways you have never seen him before and will be moved. They also don’t skimp on the negative views of him. There are agonies such as World Cup 2014 and the ecstasies including finally beating Messi for the Ballon d’Or. Go out of your way to watch this.

Visit the Destination Soccer Cristiano Ronaldo Shop

50 Teams That Mattered: Soccer Book Review

50 Teams That Matterd Book Cover

Rating: 5/5 Sensational fun and really interesting book that takes you through the key events and people in soccer history – making them come alive and giving you the detailed overview which makes you feel like you have learnt a lot.

Background

Here at Destination Soccer, we love soccer history and we love soccer books especially soccer history books. There are some incredible books we have reviewed including the monumental The Ball is Round which is the definitive soccer history book. There is also the history of football tactics aka Inverting the Pyramid. And two superb histories of the World Cup. Not to mention a history of British football, German football, Italian football , Latin American and even modern Spanish football.

So basically a lot!

This book ’50 Teams That Mattered’ is one of the best we have read. It is simply monumental. Meaning that we are only 40% of the way through it and are only experiencing the thrills and spills of the Brazilian World Cup team of 1970. This book is taking us through their World Cup tournament. Including Pele being buzzed up by an opposition manager saying Pele was a ‘spent force’. Through to their monumental semi-final against Uruguay. Even 20 years later, the 1950 Maracanaza still haunted Brazil and despite already winning two World Cups since then, Pele who had promised his father that day that he would win a World Cup for him and the rest of the Brazilian team were tense. The Uruguayans kept bringing the 1950 game up during this match to throw the Brazilians off.

All of this level of detail I had never heard before. Even the monumental Ball is Round doesn’t go into this much detail.

Staggering Detail – Fun to read – bringing it to life.

This is the key thing. When I was about to start one chapter – Blackburn Olympic 1882-83: I groaned. What could I possibly want to read about a team I had never heard of or wasn’t even sure they even existed anymore. (They are different to the more famous Blackburn Rovers).

But this is why this book is incredible. It takes through teams starting with the world’s first ever football club which was Sheffield FC founded in 1857. And the beauty of this book is that the author sets up every chapter and every team in a modern context. So instead of just diving in and saying Sheffield FC was founded in X and did Y, he makes it relevant for us today. For example talking about at FIFA’s Centenary year – 1oo years and how they presented awards for every decade of existence. Only two awards went to actual football clubs. One to the world’s most popular and successful club – Real Madrid. And the other to Sheffield FC.

And then he takes us on a journey and we feel like we are there. It is completely engaging and wow, we leave feeling like we have learnt a lot.

The beauty is that each club chosen gives us almost a step by step guide through the history of football. From the legendary Queens Park FC and the world’s first international game – Scotland v England. And the clubs which made a difference. At the end of every chapter, the author summarises why that club is important in the history of soccer.

They are not in there randomly.

The Great Leaders

Now some of the clubs mentioned such as Arsenal FC 1925-35, Liverpool FC 1959-74 and FC Internazionale Milano 1962-67 are really about the people behind them. Respectively these are chapters are in essence really about the incredible Herbert Chapman, Bill Shankly who Alex Ferguson in his book Leading talks about as being an inspiration. And Helenio Herrera taking catenaccio to a whole new level.

So those chapters cover the careers of these managers and their times at other clubs. There are a lot of parallels. These three managers all had stints at other clubs where they developed but they never got the complete control they needed and the investment opportunities they needed to grow.

When they did find ‘their’ club, miracles happened. Sadly in the case of Liverpool, the real dominance and results happened only after Bill Shankly had left the club. Or retired. Sadly for him he realized he had made a mistake but didn’t get the second chance to return that Alex Ferguson was lucky enough to get.

Themes in the Book

The incredible thing is that we see some themes. Total football – we get a history of Ajax but we also get the people and the teams which inspired them. Including British managers such as Jimmy Hogan who inspired both the Austrian Wunderteam of the 1930s and the Hungarian Mighty Magyars of the 1950s. Of course, we also cover some key moments in football history including the Match of the Century.

We also see the changes or shifts in the tactics and waves in football such as the Celtic European Cup winning season which finished off catenaccio as the dominant trend in football.

Really Experience History

This is the best thing. Each chapter is both ridiculously detailed but it still gives you a brief insight and overview into every team’s history. Something I have never seen before. And the author makes it exciting and takes us on a journey each time. Whether it is 1872 or 1962, you feel it come alive.

I still have so much to go.  I am just at 1970 and the book is a definite 5/5 stars. This book alongside The Ball is Round will give you everything you need to know. In a way, this is even more readable than The Ball is Round because it is easier to dip in and out and it gives you a way-in through the modern game. Also where needed he imagines you never even read previous chapters so he reintroduces concepts and other teams fresh so if you can’t necessarily remember what happened in the 1930s and we are now in the 1980s, he will remind you without you having to go back.

50 Teams That Mattered is a lot of fun.

 

Leading by Alex Ferguson: Soccer Book Review

Leading: Learning from Life and My Years at Manchester United

Rating: 3.5/5 A solid book underlying how to be successful in business and life with Sir Alex Ferguson’s hugely successful career highlights and sometimes low-lights providing the evidence

Background

Sir Alex Ferguson – a Manchester United and indeed football management legend underlines his leadership philosophy in a lot of detail using real life stories, anecdotes and successes and failures in this easy to read book.

He brings you upto date with parts of his career which you might not be familiar with. In Scotland he of course managed Aberdeen to a famous Cup Winner’s Cup Final victory over Real Madrid. But we learn about the clubs he managed before this and the mistakes and lessons he learnt.

Some Surprising Points about his philosophy

The media liked to portray Ferguson as someone aggressive and scary – ready to give the ‘hairdryer’ treatment to his players. The media is quick to portray or remind everyone about the incident which allegedly led David Beckham to leave Manchester United.

However, Ferguson in his book ensures us that that was not his style and that it is very difficult to lead through fear. He had to learn how to handle each player individually. One of the things he said he tried to do was to learn about each player’s own upbringing. And he was especially careful not to stress out young players or those more sensitive to too much criticism. In fact he says that any leader no matter how quiet they might be just by the very fact that they control the paychecks and indeed employment futures of their employees can automatically be feared just because of that. And a raised eyebrow to someone or a gesture which may appear meaningless to that person could terrify the employee.

What is great about this book is that you don’t need to be particularly interested in business or leading. There is so much general interest and going behind the scenes.

We learn about Ferguson’s working class roots and why the difficult times he faced as a child meant the rough and tumble of the dugout was relatively easy to deal with. And why working class players are those likely to make it because for many players they don’t have the distractions middle class children have e.g. of academia or University. Their sole focus is football.

The importance of discipline

Ferguson has a couple of chapters on this. And how he drills into his players discipline. He said the lack of discipline is why his Manchester United side lost to Barcelona in the Champions League Finals of 2009 and especially 2011. Some players lost their heads and the team lost its shape. He tried to drill into players the need to think with their heads and not lose themselves to their emotions. So structure was important.

World Class Players

One of the most interesting points in the book is how Ferguson believes there are currently only two world class payers playing the game. Messi and Ronaldo. Everyone else is a level below this. Well there are players such as Suarez and Thomas Mueller who are excellent but not at Messi and Ronaldo’s level. He outlines all the criteria he gives as to what makes a world class player.

Relationships with Players

One really interesting thing is how Ferguson was always thinking years ahead with his team and changing the team around every 3 to 4 years with younger players, youth team players and so on. He would be ruthless in this although still compassionate to those who had served the team. And always ready to get rid of troublemakers.

At the same time you cannot get too close to the players as it doesn’t work.

His philosophy was always to pay players what they were worth. And he feels that very few players actually need agents. Most could just hire a lawyer on an hourly basis because the agents want to make as much money for themselves typically.

Summary

Well worth a read if you like Manchester United or Alex Ferguson or are interested in personal and business development. Very accessible.

There is also a lot more than I mentioned here. His relationship with technology and data analysis, his succession with David Moyes and Luis Van Gaal, his relationships with the greats at Manchester United including Eric Cantona and Bobby Charlton and much, much more.

Soccer Book Review: Golazo! A History of Latin American Football

!Golazo!: A History of Latin American Football

Rating: 5/5 A stunning fun, entertaining and mind-boggling journey through Latin American football and political history. Will open your mind and change all the myths!

Overview

Okay. I have only read 10% of this book so far and I am already giving it 5/5 stars. Why? Firstly I knew straight away from this quote from legendary Real Madrid and Mexico striker Hugo Sanchez:

Whoever invented football should be worshipped as a god

And then I read some of the first sections. Already I learnt about the history of ball games in Mexico. Not just Mexico but a lot of the area of Central America and part of the current United States. Over 1,500 ball courts have been found so far (tlachtli)  of the ball-game Ulamalitzli. This was a brutally violent game featuring from one to a whole team of players with the requirement to get the ball into the other end – there was a hole in a circular stone. Losers were often killed. Decapitated.

Not the usual way a soccer book starts! From there, we go onto expose myths. There are many of them – British sailors whilst their ships were moored in South American ports would play football with locals watching them in awe and amazement and then taking up the game.

It didn’t quite work that way. Even the legendary Charles Miller who set up the game as we know it in Brazil created a myth. He said how when he arrived by boat back to Brazil from England (he was from a well to do family and had been in boarding school in England), his father asked him where his degree was. He said here they are – showing his father the two footballs he was carrying. His father laughed and so the game was born in Brazil.

Except we find out in Golazo, that Charles Miller’s father had died eight years before this ‘event’.

Politics rules everything

The beauty of this book is that we take a chronological journey (don’t worry it is all in easy and fun to read language) of the continent. And we get to compare how all the countries were doing. And how football fared in each country. We see how the British set up the game in most of the continent through their sports clubs. And most of the games featured British or Europeans. And wherever the railways were strong, this was where the game spread or took hold.

And the most surprising thing of all was that it wasn’t football that was first established in South America. But cricket! The Buenos Aires Cricket Club was established in the 1830s! Gradually though some of these clubs added or switched to football with some players turning out for both sports.

With the First World War, many of the British members left and tragically never returned so this led to a big gap in South American clubs.

And then football was seen as a way of belonging. For example, in Argentina, football clubs were set up in each barrio or district. With mass immigration, it gave people a way to belong and something to associate to.

The biggest rivalry was along the River Plate with Uruguay and Argentina because of their proximity and culture allowed for easy connection. We learn how Chile for example had a very difficult political trajectory to land-locked Paraguay with its constant change in leadership. And how Bolivians adapted football to their high altitudes, something still being debated to this day.

The Book

golazo

The Book is split into time periods including the start of the game between 1800-1900 with the British featuring heavily in this section. We then get the 1900-1920 period with the heavy growth of the game especially in Argentina and Uruguay. Before the 1920-1930 section with the return of the Natives and then Champions of the World 193o-1940 featuring of course Uruguay as World Champions beating Argentina in the 1930 World Cup Final, something we have covered in depth here at Destination Soccer.

The last chapter covers 1940-1950 In Splendid Isolation where South and Latin America was not as devastated by World War II as Europe and Asia, not to mention the United States.

We also have interesting asides such as the diaries and menus of key people involved with the game and results from tours of games. It is a lot of fun and will completely open your eyes to what happened in each of the countries involved.

Summary

I will look to update this book as I read more but definitely on par with The Ball is Round and Tor for superb soccer history books. Get this now!

 

Soccer Book Review: Who Invented the Stepover?

Who Invented the Stepover?: And Other Crucial Football Conundrums

Rating: 3.5/5 Fun quick read with some obscure items to get to some interesting facts. The narrative or structure not great with some sections skippable

Overview

So, I was looking for some great new football/soccer books to read. And I came across this book. Who Invented the Stepover? Technically it was supposed to be like Freakonomics for soccer or something like that. The New Scientist for interesting football items. And then to go into detail to those items of interest which no-one quite knows the answer to.

Some Interesting Items

The book is structured into six sections, from Inventions through to Stars and Culture. I particularly enjoyed the Inventions section. Who invented the bicycle kick? Surely the most spectacular move in all of soccer. Check some of these out:

The story goes all the way to the dockyards of Chile. 1914! Where Ramon Unzaga invented this kick and then used it for Chile in the Copa America tournaments of 1916 and 1920. However, Peru claims to have invented this in 1892. From the Peruvian port of Callao. And maybe the Chileans got it from games between people from the two ports.

Whatever the source, there is one point everyone agrees on – you only need to do a bicycle kick if the cross is really bad! Wayne Rooney talks about his spectacular bicycle kick voted as the Premier League’s greatest ever goal.

In the Inventions section, there are also some fun accounts of who wore the first ever goalkeeping gloves. And watching the I Believe in Miracles DVD, we see the legendary Peter Shilton goalkeeper playing in the European Cup Final without goalkeeping gloves. There is a distinction made in this chapter between gloves won for fashion purposes and maybe to keep warm plus those for being more effective in goal.

Other Sections

I could go on for ages about this first section – from who was the first playmaker to who invented Total Football and who first parked the bus and more. The next section on Oddities is quite interesting including which were the most brutal games of football ever. These include one of our 10 most important games of all time – the Chile v Italy 1962 World Cup Match which was the game which led to the invention of red and yellow cards by the English referee who was in charge of that game.

We also have the ridiculously brutal 1954 World Cup Quarter Final between the wild favorites Hungary and the hosts of the 1950 World Cup which led to some horrific on and off the field brutality. We also have some hilarious insight into the elephant v human penalty shoot-out contest involving Leicester City players (well, the Club which preceded Leicester City). And how the elephant was beating most players until one player started to do some tricks – well feinting to shoot in one corner and then shooting in the other corner. This was working – until the elephant copied this trick. (The elephant and the humans had to be in goal and then take the penalty against each other).

Some Major Stars

The section on major stars is interesting including the game’s first global superstar – Uruguay’s Jose Andrade who played in the Uruguay team which won the 1924 and 1928 Olympics and then the 1930 World Cup. Plus, Britain’s first black footballers. Incredibly, Scotland had a black player really early on in their history.

The Culture section is also pretty interesting including why Brazil wear their current yellow shirts. (Destination Soccer fans know this is because of Maracanazo – or World Cup Final 1950 defeat). And there is also an interesting story on the history of dug-outs. Surely one of the worst vantage points for the Manager. Yet theses started to take over. This is quite an interesting story.

Summary

So overall, if you have some spare time, this is a book you can dip in and out of. There is not really a lot of narrative as such. It is not a history book in the same way, the Ball is Round book is. But still can be a fun read.