First Team: Juventus Part Two offers yet more interesting, behind-the-scenes access into one of the world’s most famous football clubs, while also packing a heavy emotional punch as the club prepares to say goodbye to one of their greatest ever players, legendary goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon.
After part one (three of six episodes) of this Netflix original docu-series chronicling Italian football champions Juventus’ 2017-18 season was released back in February, First Team: Juventus part two picks up right where we left off and focusses on the latter half of the season; the business end.
Seemingly focussing less on the individual players’ personal lives than the first three episodes did as the football matches themselves become more and more important, the series still spends time with Colombian forward, Juan Cuadrado, who had an injury stricken season, as we learn about the foundation he set up to help children in his home country live out their dreams as he did. We also spend time with Moroccan defender, Mehdi Benatia, and his children as he balances family with football while having a particularly memorable impact on the outcome of Juventus’ season himself.
The emotions are a great deal stronger in these episodes, however, as the tragic passing of Fiorentina captain and Italian international defender, Davide Astori shook the Serie A and football worldwide. The documentary takes time to honor Astori as we see Giorgio Chiellini give emotional interviews, Juventus players and coaches attend his funeral in Florence, and all of Europe pay their respects with silences before Champions League games. The documentary itself even pays it’s respects, ending the second of part two’s three episodes on a picture of Astori.
As the season intensified for Juventus, First Team: Juventus part two focussed on all their key games towards the end of the season: the Champions League round of 16 tie against Tottenham, huge Serie A games against Lazio, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Napoli, and most notably of all, the two legs of the Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid. The final minutes of that second leg will go down as some of the most devastating in the club’s recent history.
The balance that First Team: Juventus part two provides between football itself, the players’ lives, the club’s relationship with fans and attempting to explain the passion that comes alongside this sport is something to be applauded. What could come off very easily as a promotional video for Juventus and how wonderful they are is far more concerned with crafing a story out of Juventus’ historic season; a season which saw them crowned Serie A champions for the seventh consecutive season and Coppa Italia champions for the thirteenth time. It takes time to explain the Calciopoli scandal of 2006 which saw the club stripped of two titles and relegated to Serie B, and has interviews with Buffon and legendary striker, Alessandro Del Piero, explaining their loyalty to Juventus and how they pledged to help the club rise again out of those dark times.
You could say they were successful.
The final episode of the series is perhaps the most emotional not only for Juventus fans but football fans across the world as it primarily focusses on Buffon’s decision to end his Juventus career after 17 seasons. This is the episode where we see Juventus win their two titles but the insight that Buffon gives us into his decision is by far the most memorable part of this whole docu-series. We also spend a little bit of time with Wojciech Szczesny, the man Juventus brought in to replace Buffon next season as he explains that he will “never be the next Gigi Buffon, but will be the best Wojciech Szczesny he can possibly be”.
The emotions of Buffon’s departure are summed up in the final minutes of that final episode as we see him play his final game for the Bianconeri in front of 40,000 tearful fans. It is rather easy to find a tear running down your own cheek in these moments.
First Team: Juventus part two is a must watch for fans of sports documentaries, and it can only be even more worthwhile if you are a football fan. Just in case the World Cup wasn’t providing enough football for you at the present time, you have this wonderful documentary to fill your time before the next match.