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A definitive list of the 10 best Football (Soccer) Movies ever made

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Best Soccer Movies, football

Our series of ranking the greatest sports movies ever has already seen us cover the 10 best gridiron movies, the 10 best basketball movies and 10 best baseball moves ever. Today, we’re looking at the best soccer movies ever.

Football is the world game, there is no doubt about that.

Despite what the Olympics has to say, the World Cup is the pinnacle of global sporting events, with the UEFA Champions League another of the sport’s showpiece events, attracting hundreds of millions of eyeballs each year.

Surprisingly, perhaps due to football’s American prominence rising only in the last decade or so, there isn’t a massive rivalry of films for us to use in our list of the best soccer movies.

This doesn’t mean we’re without some classics; there are plenty of those. Many of which made our list.

To compile our list of the best soccer movies of all time, we ran our eye over the rankings of some prestigious movie and sports sites and pulled together an aggregate score that formed our list. We felt this was the fairest way possible, ensuring our own personal opinions did not sway the final standings.

Best soccer movies ever, ranked 10-1

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Honourable mentions:

Fever Pitch, Goal 3, Rodo y Cursi, Mike Bassett: England Manager all fell just short of our top 10 best soccer movies ever.

10. Looking for Eric, 2009

Eric Cantona has long been renowned as one of footballs greatest ever mavericks. An attacking force who was the centre of Manchester United’s resurgence in the mid-1990s. In Looking for Eric, Cantona is once again at the centre of the story, only this time for a different reason.

9. Goal II: Living the Dream, 2007

Everyone knows the story of how Santiago Munez got to Newcastle United. But, do you know the story of his spell at Real Madrid? If not, Goal II: Living the Dream has the answers you seek.

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8. Mean Machine, 2001

Vinnie Jones, Jason Statham and Danny Dyer. Mean Machine is a who’s who of early 2000s British hardmen. It follows a football star, sentenced to jail, who’s tasked with leading a group of inmates in a football match against the guards.

And yes, before you ask, it’s an adaptation of The Longest Yard, which is featured in our list of the 10 best gridiron movies ever.

7. Football Factory, 2004

Danny Dyer is back, this time in Football Factory, a film centring around Dyer’s involvement in a Chelsea FC hooligan firm, whose lifestyle changes after a momentous event occurs between him, his friends and a pack of Tottenham supporters.

6. Offside, 2006

Offside is a 2006 Iranian film about a group of girls trying to attend a World Cup qualifying match, which they are banned from doing on the basis they are female. Female fans are not allowed to enter football stadiums in Iran showing men’s matches.

This film follows a group of women as they attempt to watch the Iranian men’s side in their qualification campaign for the 2006 World Cup.

5. Green Street Hooligans, 2005

Now this, this is an absolute classic. Charlie Hunnam and Elijah Wood star in Green Street Hooligans, a tale about West Ham United hooligans. At points, it almost feels like a documentary, such is the realism with which the story is portrayed.

4. Escape to Victory, 1981

Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Pele, Bobby Moore and Ossie Ardiles. Need we say more? Some of the biggest stars of the 20th century join forces in Escape to Victory, which centres around an Allied prisoner-of-war team as it prepares for a match against the German National Team.

3. Bend it Like Beckham, 2002

Another classic of the genre. Bend it Like Beckham follows Jess Bhamram, the daughter of Indian Punjabi Sikhs who is football-mad. However, without genuine support for her interests from her family, all seems lost for Jess in the world of football.

Jess secretly pursues her football passion and, as the film explains, it lands her a fantastic opportunity.

2. Goal!, 2005

Anyone who’s ever sat through a rained-out high school lunchtime has seen Goal! Santiago Munez, the film’s protagonist, is a Mexican immigrant living in LA whose life is transformed when he’s offered the chance to trial with Premier League side, Newcastle United.

Interestingly, the film was made with the cooperation of FIFA, allowing the use of players’ likenesses, while Adidas also contributed around $50 million to the film’s budget and marketing. At the time, this was the biggest deal between a corporate brand and a film production.

1. The Damned United, 2009

Most football fans know Brian Clough as the man who lifted Nottingham Forest to European football’s summit, twice. It’s his 44-day reign as manager of Leeds United which is spotlighted in The Damned United.

Clough and Leeds’ relationship was fractured, to say the least. This was largely due to his intense rivalry with the club’s former manager, Don Revie. The two men shared philosophical differences. While this didn’t deliver success for Clough at Leeds, it did make for a fantastic film.

Kyle Robbins
Kyle Robbins
Kyle is a senior sports writer and producer at Only Sports who lives and breathes sport, with a particular burning passion for everything soccer, rugby league, and cricket. You’ll most commonly find him getting overly hopeful about the Bulldogs and Chelsea’s prospects. Find Kyle on LinkedIn.

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