I watched Goal, the first in a trilogy about a poor illegal Mexican immigrant, Santiago, who plays football in Los Angeles for fun. An ex-Newcastle player spots him, and the rest is history.
Sub-plots: 1)The hardworking father who has never watched his son play football, and does not think he should bother flying to Newcastle for try-outs. Thank God for grandmothers (reminded me of my own).
2) The playboy agent who’s always too busy to watch Santiago play while in LA. However, when Santi makes it big, he’s suddenly interested and wants to oust the ex-Newcastle player as his agent.
3) The girl. Now this part was hard to believe. Never in my three years in England have I seen pretty nurses! And meeting her again while clubbing is another big coincidence – is Newcastle that small? However, I think the dilemma that Santiago faces (faithful girlfriend versus bevies of scantily-clad babes whose names you won’t remember when you wake up in the morning) is quite real for many young footballers.
But that’s it. If you’re a footie fan, you have to watch this show. It brought tears to my eyes. It reminds you that there was a time, not too long ago, when boys played football for the love of the game, not for money or fame. (It also helps if you like Newcastle FC, which I do)
For those who don’t ever plan to watch this show / want to know the spoilers, read on.
As you may have heard, lots of real-life football stars appear in this, including David Beckham, Raul and Zinedine Zidane at a club, and lots of other players from Chelsea and Liverpool on the pitch. Rafa was there, but I didn’t see Sven (though he was listed in the credits).
My favourite guest appearance involved the Real Madrid stars. After a stunning performance, Santiago meets Beckham who puts up a slightly stiff performance. Excited at having met such a famous player, he runs over to his striker teammate, Harris, saying, “Guess who I just met?”
Harris, who has taken lots of rap for being an over-rated striker who’s full of nonsense, is talking to two other players, who turn around. It is Raul and Zidane (can it get any better?!). Harris introduces them, calling the latter ‘Zizou’. Raul immediately breaks into Spanish, asking Santiago “Why are you with this loser?” That was funny, but Santi’s reply is wryly funnier, “Because he has a car.” Zizou also spoke in Spanish. Those two guys pulled it off better than Becks.
Another good scene is when Santi’s in the Newcastle gym and is struggling to lift up light weights using his legs/knees. As he lies on the backrest, panting, Alan Shearer come up. “Are you done yet?” Santi, dumbfounded, nods and makes way for the legend. Shearer triples the weights and lifts them with his legs without much difficulty. Ouch.
Of course, in this movie there are happy endings although Santi nearly gets kicked out of the trial team a few times. However, his behaviour and emotions are quite plausible, given the conditions he’s had to live in.
All in all, an uplifting performance. Can’t wait to watch the sequels.