After a week of build up online, its a tad ironic that a Real Madrid match was probably the worst thing that could have happened to ESPN’s new Real Madrid documentary, Los Galácticos. Nonetheless, Los Blancos’s Champions League knockout clash against Atlanta on Tuesday night certainly took center stage over the debut episode. However, with a 1-0 away win in the bag, el día después offered the perfect chance to kick back and enjoy some early 2000s nostalgia and boy did episode 1 deliver in that department.
Opening in June 2000, part one, entitled “Family”, covered Perez’s election to the presidency, the transfers of Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane, the selling of the Ciudad Deportiva training ground, the disastrous 2002 Copa del Rey final and finished on a high with the team lifting the Champions League trophy in Glasgow. Revisiting this rollercoaster period of Real Madrid’s history was a host of familiar faces including Roberto Carlos, Santiago Solari, Jorge Valdano, Steve McManaman, Iker Casillas, even Vicente Del Bosque made an appearance.
Given the subject of the documentary, having an ensemble cast was the bare minimum and I was more impressed by the lowkey appearances such as White Angels author John Carlin and Madrid city’s treasurer, Jose Álvarez Manzano, who spoke about Perez having Italian motorcycles shipped to Madrid without paying for them. Interviews like this give alot of texture and context to what is being said by the former players and I’m hopeful that the series continues in this vein.
“Family” is only 28 minutes long and it obviously covers a lot of ground. In some ways, one has to praise the production team for balancing a digestible runtime with the treasure trove of history available to them. I can’t say any major talking point was sacrificed to keep runtime under a half an hour, and I was quite impressed that Del Bosque’s exclusion of Casillas during the 01/02 season was given some time in the sun. It’s not something that is included in San Iker’s legend at the club and the quotes from both parties in their interviews was comfortably the most interesting part of the episode for me.
Nonetheless, I would say to anyone who is watching this series to learn about Real Madrid’s history that you will get a solid start and not much more than that. As an infamous Real Madrid history nerd, the lack of detail on some major parts of Real Madrid’s 21st century history was quite difficult for me to swallow. Club debts are acknowledged, however the extent and threat they posed to the club isn’t. The basics of Luis Figo’s transfer from Barcelona are overviewed, however, that the biggest Spanish transfer saga since Di Stefano’s move in the 1950s got about 10 minutes is baffling and an argument could be made that it justified a whole episode of its own.
Going forward, it will be interesting to see how this fast start effects the rest of the series. The teaser for the next episode suggests that Perez’s issues with the dressing room will be up next and, should the pace from episode 1 continue, its anyone guess what the final two parts will cover.
Overall, I think this is a good start to the series and certainly gives what a majority would have wanted from a series about the Galácticos.