The Goal! film series, tracking the ascent of loveable Mexican maestro Santiago
They’re aiming for the top four, and need to win their last three matches to achieve it.
In Goal! (2020):
In theory, Newcastle still works. They finished 14th in 2004/05, and sit 13th in the league at present meaning they’re in a broadly similar position. The studio probably didn’t think that the club would go from consistently challenging for a Champions League spot to mid-table fodder so quickly.
So we’re going to change things up for the sake of believability. We
Arriving in England
Atención! Santiago Muñez, ex Newcastle, es refuerzo de Racing. Está apalabrado para llegar en junio. Un detalle: tiene coronavirus. Si sobrevive, viene. pic.twitter.com/Uw09sMIgwB
— Mati (@matigarciaat) April 14, 2020
In Goal! (2005):
He struggles to come to terms with it all; even more-so after a w**ker team-mate in the reserves who has had it out for him since day one steps on his inhaler, ultimately revealing his struggles with asthma to the coaches.
As if that wasn’t bad enough for our emerging young star, he even gets stitched up by a couple of girls at a party, and has ‘indecent’ (but really tame) pictures sold to a newspaper; pictures which get back to the manager and his love interest Roz (Anna Friel).
Oh yeah, and then his dad dies.
In Goal! (2020): We’re not having any of the xenophobic nonsense in our version. Instead, it’s some gentle ribbing about the fact he’s only ever played ‘tinpot’ football in the states. The muddy pitch isn’t a problem; we have all-weather astroturfs in the future.
He can’t have asthma since he’d never pass a medical in the first place. Our boy’s underlying knee injury that’s exacerbated by a sly, well-placed kick when that nameless defensive midfielder susses it out.
And we’re going to steer clear of the sex scandal altogether. It wasn’t a big enough plot point to justify writing in the sort of cataclysmic controversy that would be required to almost disgrace a footballer in the current climate.
His dad still dies, though. We can’t change that.
In Goal! (2005): There are no shortage of cameos from real-life footballers. The most notable one comes in the gym at the training ground, when Alan Shearer – then still a player – asks Santiago if he’s finished with the leg press machine.
Santiago is later introduced by Harris to David Beckham, and Real Madrid teammates Zinedine Zidane and Raul at a nightclub. That has no real significance (in the first film, at least), but it’s a nice nod.
In Goal! (2020): For obvious reasons, it can’t be Shearer. Instead, it’s modern day Spurs legend Harry Kane, but instead of Santiago springing to his feet to offer the machine up right away, he just sort of shrugs and says he’ll be five minutes. He’s not intimidated by Kane in the slightest.
Beckham was the most marketable star in football back in 2005; nowadays it’s Cristiano Ronaldo. So it would be he and two Juventus team-mates, probably the underwhelming combo of Aaron Ramsey and Paulo Dybala, that Santiago has a chance meeting with.
The Big Game
In Goal! (2005): As the movie enters its final straight, we get some ‘actual’ football. We see Patrick Kluivert net the winner against Chelsea to set up an explosive final day shootout, in which Santiago earns a start against Liverpool.
Our hero – having long-since gotten to grips with reserve football by this point – has the game of his life. He sets up Harris for the opener and the equaliser to make it 2-2, after ‘Liverpool’ (10 filler actors and the real Steven Gerrard) came from behind to lead.
Santiago then curls a free-kick into the top corner to ensure Champions League football for the Magpies, and they all lived happily ever after.
In Goal! (2020): We need to change it up, so it’s a Son Heung-min winner against Manchester United that sets up the finale; which happens to be a final day North London Derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Let’s say Arsenal are a point ahead of fifth-placed Spurs; so a win ensures Champions League football.
Following the vein of the original, the only ‘real’ Arsenal player is their most recognisable star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. But he has a quiet game; Santiago’s two assists and his last-minute winner (an acrobatic volley instead of a free-kick since that’s more in line with what he’s been doing for the entire film) clinches it.
The stadium erupts; our hero is redeemed, and Tottenham finally have something to celebrate.
Ah, the magic of fictional cinema.