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Goal! 2: Living The Dream - Steve McManaman interview

Steve McManaman and Alessandro Nivola (left) in Goal! 2: Live The Dream...

Interview by Rob Carnevale

FORMER footballer Steve McManaman talks about serving as associate producer on Goal! 2: Living The Dream… and whether he regrets giving up on his playing career so early…

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about what you were doing in your role as associate producer?
Steve McManaman: I tried to help out in the broadest possible sense. My relationship was to help out with the film crew if they needed any help from Real Madrid. Although saying that, Real Madrid were very accessible. I’d give advice if anybody needed any help because I’ve been in that situation before… you know, walking out onto the pitch, what the interaction is like in the dressing room before games, what kind of things people will be shouting, what the manager would be wearing, etc. You know, would the manager have a tracksuit on in Spain? Or would he be dressed in a suit?

Q. Were there any problems you had to quickly resolve?
Steve McManaman: No, Real Madrid were very good. I wasn’t involved in Goal! 1 but the football scenes with Newcastle were very limited. Goal! 2, as you’ll see, saw us in the dressing room, on the pitch, at the training ground… Some teams, especially in England, are very precious about their football pitches and rightly so. But most nights we’d be out there [at the Bernabeu] at 3am or 4am for hours on the pitch. So a lot of credit must go to Real Madrid in that respect.

Q. How about your acting in the film, has it given you the urge to do some more?
Steve McManaman: No, definitely not. I enjoyed it but that’s as far as it goes. I’ll leave it to the experts. For me, it was a lot of hanging around. Footballers lives are very dynamic – you’re out there for 90 minutes and it’s concentration for two hours; you do your job and then leave. Whereas with acting, on certain nights we were there for 12 hours… I’ve never worked for 12 hours in my life. I certainly don’t want to start doing it now!

Q. Was there anything you saw being filmed that took you right back to your debut, or first steps in the Bernabeu?
Steve McManaman: I think so. When you join a club like Real Madrid you’re stuck in a hotel room at first, so of course. The whole plot, with the highs and lows of football and the path you can go, or the path you can’t go and the temptations you have, as much as it’s condensed in the film, that certainly goes around for a football player.

There are times when you’re injured and it’s depressing and there are times when you’re coming back and you’re on the bench and you have stiff competition with team mates. But you also have to be friends with these people even though you’re rivals in a certain sense. So it brought it all right back without a doubt.

Q. Do you ever think you stopped playing too early?
Steve McManaman: No, because I stopped on my own accord. I could have carried on and had plenty of offers to carry on but I wanted to stop. I had a recurring injury which was a problem. But I only wanted to play at the highest level. I got offers from here, there and everywhere but I think it’s easier to come to terms with when you stop on your own accord rather than being told to stop. I was never the typical footballer where football was the be all and end all. It wasn’t for me. I’ve got lots of other interests and lots of other business interests I can now fully get involved with.

Q. What makes you think the scenes in this film are as good, or better, than any other football film?
Steve McManaman: They are because of the accessibility to Real Madrid and the fact that we’re allowed in the dressing room. I think if you go on the club tour you’re not allowed in the dressing room. But we could do whatever we wanted in there for most nights.

The interaction between the players on the pitch I think is unprecedented. The scenes of Kuno running out with the team and training with the team, or wishing each other good luck before games, things like that. We all, of course, hark back to the great film Escape To Victory and it’s much better than that!

Read our review of the film