It happens almost anywhere on the planet, from Nepal to Cameroon, from Brazil to Japan, from Canada to New Zealand. And there is no need for anything special, a flat area is enough, a square, or the sand on a beach. Pieces of land that appear everywhere and which are rapidly converted into stages suitable for a ritual that is independent of languages and religions, ideologies and classes, which over the last one hundred years has spread wider and wider as a real, true and unmistakeable global passion. If a child (or a youngster or an adult, although it is almost always a child) comes to that place, that square or that beach or flat area near the suburbs of a town, with a ball, soon, to the magnetism of that inimitable sound that a ball makes on the ground, others will come, more and more. And then, you already know what is going to happen, countless times every day: they will play a game of football, a match around the best possible toy: an event in which people get involved thousands of times around the planet, with the structure of the epic and the lyricism of millions of communities. From the children’s game, heroes and villains arise, the good and the bad, characters whom we abhor or admire throughout our lives, and it is this domestic and sincere dimension, full of dreams and achievements, which builds for the citizens of the global village a new “mythical way” which bears the same relationship with the global star footballers as, in the times of Ancient Greece, the people had with Theseus or Hercules.

For better or for worse, football has become what it is today, a complex and passionate reality, which only belongs in a very small percentage to the big brands, the big leagues and the big teams. However much of a mass phenomenon it may be, and however much football has been on occasions the friend of tyrants or has been used by them, it is no less true that its universality and its worldwide nature have made it a universal language which is suitable for understanding between peoples and for the positive experience of competing. Between the intelligent spectacle and coarse violence, between the opiate of the masses and the theatre of dreams, between the ideology of the common and collective unconsciousness, between the alienated masses and the willing citizenry, between stupefying support and noble desire, between admiration and condemnation, football builds itself, every day, on the dirt pitches and on wild lands, between the seaside and the high plateaux, in European stadia and on African lands, with the gaze set on the millions of anonymous matches that make this possible.

To this social and cultural dimension of football, in all its senses and in all its vocations, in the good and the bad, in the critical and the admiring, MiradasDoc has decided this year to devote one of its informative sections to this phenomenon. The screening includes iconic films for the festival, and others which are indispensable due to their special significance to the matter in hand. We, the organisers, hope that with documentary films on football around the world, a new pagan celebration, we can offer an honest, profound and lucid tribute through the cinema of reality, to the human geography which makes football something that is much more than just a sport.