ON TOP OF THE WORLD: Argentina Captain Diego Maradona holds the World Cup trophy in the documentary movie Diego Maradona.
ON TOP OF THE WORLD: Argentina Captain Diego Maradona holds the World Cup trophy in the documentary movie Diego Maradona. Bob Thomas/Getty

MOVIE REVIEW: If you like sport, don't miss this doco

Diego Maradona (M)

Stars: Diego Maradona, Claudia Villafane, Diego Maradona Jr.   

Director: Asif Kapadia   

Verdict: 4 stars  

 

WE ALL have our demons to deal with in this life, and Diego Maradona is no different.

But most of us don't have his God-given talent with a football, and that's what makes his life story so fascinating.

The question of why it has taken so long to make a documentary about the life of a footballer regarded at the greatest of all time,is what makes this movie so very special.

Made by the same team behind Senna and the Oscar-winning Amy, boy does Maradona's story deliver.

It is a life that has everything: money, fame, pure adulation, sex, illegitimate children, parties, drugs, the mafia, incredible sporting achievement and ultimately, a shameful downfall.

At 15, a poverty-stricken Maradona is sharing a one-room shack with his parents and four sisters. When he is signed up as a footballer, he makes a conscious decision to care for his family.

Diego Maradona cheers after the Napoli team clinches its first Italian major league title in Naples, Italy in a scene from the documentary Diego Maradona.
Diego Maradona cheers after the Napoli team clinches its first Italian major league title in Naples, Italy in a scene from the documentary Diego Maradona. Meazza Sambucetti/AP

Maradona spent two years at Barcelona, one of the biggest clubs on the planet, and made the move to Italy, which is where Diego Maradona begins with a speedy car chase through the streets of Napoli (Naples).

In the car ahead is Napoli's biggest, most expensive signing in history. The proud north Italian club has never won the Serie A championship, and a full stadium of insane fans is there to welcome him.

What follows is Maradona's story from that point, including how he helped the club make football history, and then how he won the sport's biggest prize - the FIFA World Cup - practically on his own in 1986 as he captained Argentina at just 25.

In the one game against England in that tournament, Maradona showed his worst thanks to the 'Hand of God', and his best, scoring what is widely regarded as the best goal ever scored.

As his achievements mounted, there is scene after scene of the Argentinian being mobbed, surrounded and hounded by the press and the public. He was treated like a god, yet couldn't walk down any street, visit any shop nor go see a movie with his children.

Diego Maradona in a scene from the documentary Diego Maradona.
Diego Maradona in a scene from the documentary Diego Maradona. Alfredo Capozzi

His friendship with criminal figures in Italy's north led to his addiction to cocaine, and the downfall began. The public turned against him, and no more so than in 1990 when he captained his country against Italy in Naples, in a scene that graphically shows how an entire nation was united in pure hatred against just one man.

Compiled from more than 500 hours of footage, including video from Maradona's personal archive, this is as good as it gets in documentaries. Love him or loathe him, you will walk out of Diego Maradona questioning not only our obsessive adulation of sports stars, but how someone could possibly live any kind of normal life under such conditions.

Just like Senna and Amy, this is incredible filmmaking, letting footage tell the story along with voice overs from those who were there.

This is possibly the best football-related documentary you will ever see and even if you don't like the sport, you'll still enjoy this riveting tale.

Diego Maradona opens in select cinemas tomorrow.