Five more footballers who deserve David Beckham-style Netflix docs - including ex-Man City and Everton stars

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Everybody has been talking about Netflix’s new documentary ‘Beckham’ in recent days.

You would have forgiven for believing, prior to the past fortnight, that there was very little David Beckham could do to enhance his monstrous ubiquity. The former England captain - one half of the most iconic celebrity couple of recent times, his likeness plastered across the advertising campaigns of everything from soft drinks to sports cars - is in possession of a face that is recognised the world over, both in and out of professional football. He is, to many, the crossover darling of the beautiful game, a towering obelisk of a superstar remembered just as fondly for the time he met Prince Charles in a durag as he is for his ability to curl a free-kick into the stanchion from 30 paces.

But then his eponymous Netflix documentary dropped, and suddenly Beckham’s profile has rocketed into a whole new stratosphere. Suddenly, water coolers across the land are dominated by conversations about Golden Balls once more. Almost overnight, he gained in excess of half a million new Instagram followers, and it is hard to doomscroll more than a few inches through any social media timeline without being met by a thumbnail of his grinning, sickeningly handsome mug.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And that got us to thinking; which other footballers are deserving of their own tell-all features? Of course, the possibilities are near-endless, but we’ve picked out five of our particular favourites below...

Luis Suarez

We’ll start with a man who has made more headlines than most over the course of his storied career. From winning every piece of silverware imaginable during his stint with Barcelona, to chowing down on the outstretched limbs of opposing defenders like a vengeful mutt at a summit of postmen, Luis Suarez has never been one to shy away from attention - positive or otherwise.

The Uruguayan’s life has been about far more than medals and mouthfuls, however. Raised in the back alleys of Montevideo - the very same streets in which he would learn his distinctly combative style of play and later work as a sweeper, collecting pennies from the gutter to pay for dates with his beloved childhood sweetheart Sofia - Suarez’s tale is a bona fide rags to riches affair. When his paramour moved to Spain with her family, the lovesick teen vowed to dedicate himself to football in an effort to earn the contract that would one day allow him to follow her across continents.

Of course, he would be successful, and the rest, as they say, is history. But even without its romantic beginning, Suarez’s story is one of glory, scandal, and a dubious relationship with right and wrong.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tony Hibbert

Less glamorous, perhaps, but no less intriguing. Tony Hibbert was among the last of a dying breed; a true one-club man devoted to the royal blue of Everton and criminally under-appreciated by the outside world. In some respects, he is Merseyside’s answer to Forrest Gump, always lurking contentedly in the background of history - there on the day Wayne Rooney signed a first professional contract, an omnipresent walk-on extra as the Toffees fluctuated between the sublime and the precarious.

But then, of course, there was that goal; the only one he ever scored, a blinding free-kick in his own testimonial match that sparked a delirious pitch invasion. That’s your closing shot right there. Fade to black. Roll credits. Or keep filming and bag yourself a delightful epilogue about the joys of amateur fishing, Hibbo’s other great passion in life.

Mario Balotelli

Look, there are too many great Mario Balotelli stories to condense down into a couple of fleeting paragraphs, but suffice to say that in his pomp, nobody came remotely close to the former Manchester City striker when it came utterly unhinged hijinks. From igniting fireworks in his own bathroom to answering a police officer’s enquiry as to why he had £5,000 in cash in his back pocket during a roadside search with the simple response, ‘Because I am rich’, the Italian is a veritable gold mine of far-fetched yarns, and living testament to the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction. Why always him?

Vasilis Hatzipanigis

You probably haven’t heard of Vasilis Hatzipanigis. But you should have. The man they called the Greek Maradona was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to a couple of political refugees, and would never play outside of Greece or the Soviet Union, but his legend in those distant corners of the globe lingers still.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Revered for his elegant, bamboozling technical ability, Hatzipanigis was denied transfers to the likes of Arsenal and Lazio because the board of directors at Iraklis, the club he would represent for 15 years, were deathly scared of losing the sellout crowds that he attracted, his is a story of majesty and tragedy entwined, of a man who should have been considered one of the greatest of all time, but who was ultimately shut away from the watching world.

Oh, and he scored directly from seven different corner kicks during the 1982/83 season, just in case you need any further proof as to how achingly cool this bloke was.

John Burridge

The absolute pinnacle of documentary film-making is, of course, the travelogue. And who better to guide us on a televisual adventure than John Burridge, the journeyman goalkeeper who played for as many as 29 different clubs over the course of his career?

Eighteen of those sides were in the English Football League, a record in and of itself, but perhaps his greatest achievment came during the 1982/83 season. While Vasilis Hatzipanigis was slinging in corners beneath the glaring Thessaloniki sun, Burridge was losing a bet to Newcastle United star Kevin Keegan, and playing an entire 90 minutes for Wolverhampton Wanderers in full Superman fancy dress. And if you don’t believe me, look it up.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.