Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona are widely considered the best club football team in history. Documentary Take the Ball, Pass the Ball shows why and how.
The Catalan coach’s time at the club between 2008 and 2012 marked an era of football which will never be repeated and which shaped the game as we know it today.
Slickly produced, the film flies along at a fine pace, mixing football clips with interviews and analysis.
A minor criticism is the film’s structure, it darts and dives around the Pep era, it doesn’t feel like there is a start and an end.
At times those without prior knowledge of that period and the comings and goings at Barcelona may find themselves lost. After all, what does the 2011 Champions League final victory mean without the context of the years before?
However that doesn’t mean it isn’t involving and entertaining throughout. For football fans of all teams.
Various players, from Dani Alves to Javier Mascherano, from Xavi Hernandez to Eidur Gudjohnsen, have their say - and even Lionel Messi is interviewed, despite his reticence to appear publicly when not on the pitch.
One of the biggest roles goes to Thierry Henry, who pops up throughout with sound bites, punctuating the documentary.
Samuel Eto’o’s interview in particular is worth watching, as he explains his differences with Pep - while the coach is widely praised it is not a sycophantic film.
As well as original interview content there are some nuggets in the film that even die-hard Barca fans might not know, while Jose Mourinho’s rivalry with Pep adds some welcome spice to proceedings - even if Xavi and Co didn’t see it that way.
Guardiola himself is notably absent until the end, but it is worth waiting to hear what he has to say.
Take The Ball, Pass The Ball is out now in OurScreen Cinemas, and on DVD & Digital Download from 12 November.