Sporting Narratives: Matchday | Inside FC Barcelona

Sporting Narratives is InsiderSport’s opportunity to explore a time in which a gripping sporting narrative was portrayed through the unmistakable medium of cinema

This edition looks at Rakuten TV’s eight episode deep dive into the inner workings of one of football’s most historic, most successful and globally recognisable institutions, FC Barcelona.

The series goes behind the scenes at the Camp Nou, with the camera crew granted exclusive access to club officials and players during the Spanish giant’ domestic and European campaigns across the 2018/19 season. 

Narrated by Academy Award nominated actor John Malkovich and subtitled for the benefit of those who don’t speak Spanish, the series, which premiered in Europe on 29 November, allows viewers to experience the inside workings of how players faced important matches, from their arrival to the dressing room to their stepping out onto the pitch. 

Moreover, the documentary also presents fly-on-the-wall footage which grants the viewer first hand insight into how world-class athletes celebrate the greatest of victories and deal with the most crushing of defeats.

Eventually tasting domestic success in the form of a 26th La Liga title, the docu-series takes you through preparations as Barca players ready themselves for the globally known El Classico fixtures, which the club won 5-1 at the Camp Nou and 1-0 away at the Bernabeu, and also covers the Blaugrana’s title clinching fixture fittingly sealed by Lionel Messi in a 1-0 April win over Levante. 

With this being said, it’s not all positive for FC Barcelona during the series as viewers are given a front row seat to one of the club’s most crushing defeats in recent history. Rakuten’s deep dive into the club they sponsor reflects the other side of the game as viewers witness Barca’s 4-0 UEFA Champions League exit to eventual winners Liverpool FC at Anfield as well as the crushing Copa Del Rey final defeat to Valencia CF all in one episode. 

Although a footballing documentary, the series provides an insight into the daily off-field lives of global icons. As viewers you are transported to the houses and into personal lives of these stars as you experience intimate moments such as Luis Suarez’ barbeque with Messi and Jordi Alba, Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s home design and Gerard Pique’s family life. 

As well as the footballers, Matchday also features appearances made by people who although not associated with the club in an official capacity, have through personal experiences become part of the FC Barcelona family. The series delves into the story of these individuals such as Rafa, a firefighter who continues to attend home games at the Camp Nou despite having lost his sight in an explosion.

Ultimately, the documentary is a roller-coaster of a story with a prime focus on how the football club has a profound effect on its supporters. Despite failing in both the domestic and European cup competitions, the series is much more than a tale of woe, with a feeling of optimism surrounding the club ahead of the 2019/20 season following the signings of Frenkie De Jong and Antoine Griezmann along with the emergence of Carles Aleñà from the youth team.