Few teams embody the devotion Argentineans have for soccer like Boca Juniors. Locked in an eternal struggle against its rival River Plate, its fans boast of being “La mitad más uno,” a passion that engulfs more than half of the country in a quasi-religious following that defies explanation.
But despite its popularity, little is known about the team outside the field. Soccer players are experts in the art of canned responses and clubs control access very tightly. That is why a documentary series like Netflix’s Boca Juniors Confidencial represents a rare opportunity to see the everyday life of some of the biggest soccer stars in South America.
The four-episode series, produced Cinema 7 Films, follows the team from the preseason all through the 2017-2018 season to their coronation as champions of the Argentinian Superliga, offering a behind-the-scenes look at their training, motivations, and struggles. The series also promises access to the players at home with their families as they cope with the pressures of fame and the expectations of fans.
A series of drone shots of a capacity filled “La Bombonera,” (Boca’s stadium) open the trailer released by Netflix. Players jump onto the field one by one to the deafening roar of the fans. The action then jumps to the training field, where we see one of the most iconic players of the team: Carlos Tévez attempting a header on goal. Another legend of the club, coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto, makes an appearance, talking about the challenges of the new season.
The rest of the trailer is a montage of training shots, bits of interviews with Tévez and midfielder Fernando Gago, and scenes of the players having fun or enjoying a moment with their families, culminating with forward Ramón Abila scoring a goal and celebrating with his teammates.
The trailer suggests that Tévez will be a focus of the documentary, despite having arrived at the middle of the season and only scoring five goals. But the “Apache,” as he is known, is a legend in the club that many fans identify with, because of his humble origins. The documentary will be an interesting window into the life of a man usually very private and of few words. Notably absent from the trailer interviews are the foreign stars of the team like Wilmar Barrios and Edwin Cardona, who were instrumental in winning the title.
Only a few teams in the world have been subjects of documentaries with this kind of access, Juventus and Manchester City are recent examples, but Boca is the first Latin American team to receive that treatment. Even if you’re not a fan of the team, seeing the inner workings of one of the biggest soccer institutions in South America will make Boca Juniors Confidencial an entertaining and insightful viewing.
Boca Juniors Confidencial premieres September 14, 2018, on Netflix.