This past February, Netflix released the documentary First Team: Juventus, chronicling the Italian side’s journey through the 2017-2018 season. In the process, Netflix seeks to capture the team’s ethos, history, and the lives of individual players. As the first Netflix series about association soccer, First Team represents the sport’s steadily increasing popularity and influence.
While the documentary does focus on the Juve’s journey as they seek to capture yet another Serie A championship and finally win the Champions League, it also goes behind the scenes with several players. In doing so, First Team provides a uniquely holistic depiction of what it means to be part of the club. For example, viewers have the chance to get a glimpse of the lives of Claudio Marchisio, who demonstrates his commitments to both Juve as a homegrown player and his family, and Gonzalo Higuaín, who seeks to build his legacy at Juve after a polarizing transfer from Napoli.
One of the highlights of the series was seeing Manager Max Allegri review film with the coaching staff. In a short, yet informative, clip about the management’s perspective in preparing for game day, viewers can see the immense thought and resources that go into the process. First Team also does not shy away from showing Juventus during some of this season’s low points, including the the 3-0 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League group stage opener, and Paulo Dybala’s missed last-minute penalty kick against Lazio that sealed Juventus first home league loss in two years.
Although the Juve journey is fitting of a documentary, it seems imperfect for a conclusive plot. In this sense, the team’s journey truly has no end, as the end of one season marks the beginning of another. While the highs and lows of one season may go down in the club’s history, the fixtures and tournament trials reset. As the powerful Italian side comes off its sixth consecutive Serie A title, is hard to show the club truly progressing on this front. More dramatic is the team’s aspiration to win the champions league. Losing in the final twice in the past three years, a championship this year would ultimately make for the end of an incredible story. It would likely mark the end of the Buffon era, and the legendary goalkeeper would hang up his cleats resolute, making up for the Italian national team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.
Ultimately, First Team can provide new insights into soccer for anyone, but is a must watch for fans of Juve and soccer alike.