x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Take five: Films for football fans

With World Cup fever firmly set in, we take a look at five of the best football-focused movies ever made.

Zinedine Zidane, right, after head-butting Marco Materazzi in 2006.
Zinedine Zidane, right, after head-butting Marco Materazzi in 2006.

Some might scoff at the idea of a film about female football players, but this 2002 British movie was a surprise box-office hit upon its release. Starring a young Kiera Knightley and a pre-ER Parminder Nagra, Bend it Like Beckham is a great reminder that football films aren't just for men.

Even if you don't follow football you would have been hard pushed to have missed the altercation that took place during the 2006 World Cup final. Sent off during extra time for head-butting Marco Materazzi, a member of the Italian side, Zinedine Zidane, viewed by many as one of the greatest players the game has ever produced, is the focus of this insightful docu-drama.

Ranked as the 30th-best British film of all time by the British Film Institute, Gregory's Girl follows an awkward teen as he tries to win the heart of the only girl on the school football team.

This made-for-TV movie looks at the relationship between the US footballers Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers. Set in 1971, the great bond between the white (Piccolo) and black (Sayers) football players was praised for its impact on race relations in America.

Set in a prisoner of war camp during the Second World War, Escape to Victory probably wins the award for featuring the most footballers in a movie ever. Among those making cameo appearances in the film are the football superstars Pelé, Bobby Moore and Kazimierz Deyna.