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César Mourão explains why he wanted to make a documentary about the life of Paulo Futre

Long before Cristiano Ronaldo and the generation of Luís Figo and Rui Costa, there was one Portuguese player who stood out in modern football – after Eusébio shone in the ’60s. His name is Paulo Futre and many believe he never got the recognition he deserved.

In 1987 Futre became Portuguese champions with Porto and won the Champions League, the club’s first ever. Then he was signed by Atlético Madrid, which was the second most expensive transfer in the world. The Portuguese was favorite for the Ballon d’Or but the title eventually went to Dutchman Ruud Gullit.

It was this “injustice” that motivated César Mourão – and his new production company 313 – to want to make a documentary that values ​​and tells the story of the Portuguese star. “Futre – O Primeiro Português” is a six-episode documentary series that premieres this Thursday, February 10th on Opto, SIC’s streaming platform. The first chapter is available now – a new one is added to the catalog every week, with around 45 minutes.

“I’ve had the idea of ​​making a documentary about Paulo Futre for a while,” César Mourão tells NiT. “Because I thought Futre’s career was unfair given the footballing genius he was. I suggested it to him, he loved the idea and we made the documentary,” adds the project leader.

Comedian, host, actor, producer, director and screenwriter – as well as a potential future musician – César Mourão grew up watching Paulo Futre perform and hearing about his talent.

“As a great Sporting player, I’ve always had a lot of vanity about the players coached at Sporting. And Futur was one of our flags for many years. I always heard my grandfather say that. We were very upset when Futre left Sporting for Porto and later joined Benfica. It was heartbreak for Sporting fans and that was the connection I had.

When Paulo Futre joined Atlético Madrid, a certain connection between the footballer and the Portuguese public was lost. At the time, Spanish league matches were not broadcast on national television. “We only saw the summaries on Sunday. But I remember clearly watching the Champions League and watching him play in Portugal.”

This “injustice” and alleged lack of recognition was also motivated by this circumstance-related distancing. “He takes Atlético de Madrid, which is a smaller club, to achieve feats like the Copa del Rey. They were never champions because back then there was a big difference with Real Madrid and Barcelona.” But Atlético Madrid only mattered because they had a player like Paulo Futre. Then he ended his career too early, so to speak – the career itself. Because he returned to Atlético Madrid, he was at Marseille, at AC Milan, but he wasn’t as shiny anymore because of injuries. I think maybe there is… in Portugal, Futre is known for the yellow Porsche and the Chinese and not for what he really represented – he was the first Portuguese player to be really successful abroad.” Hence the title of the documentary series .

César Mourão says one of the things that surprised him the most about directing the documentary was the story of Paulo Futre’s military service. “He goes to Atlético Madrid and was in military default. And it’s almost forbidden to be in Spain – I had to go back to Portugal. It was really a disaster for Atlético Madrid. And everything that happened until you actually managed to avoid doing military service is a story I had no idea about. I was surprised by his determination to continue his career.”

The project took a little over a year to complete. It has numerous renowned interviewees, including José Mourinho, Luís Figo, Pinto da Costa, Rui Costa, João Félix, Dani, Jorge Mendes and Fernando Gomes. International names such as Fernando Torres, Rio Ferdinand, Florentino Pérez or Emilio Butragueño are other witnesses of the footballer. And of course Paulo Futre himself.

“It wasn’t easy. Obviously the name Paulo Futre opens a lot of doors. And we’re lucky to have other names in Portugal who helped us. Especially Jorge Mendes, who gave us some contacts. The schedules are also complicated because we’re talking about people who were either big football stars or still are. So it was very difficult to bring all these people together in a documentary. But we did. There have been many trips, many setbacks, arrivals in England and Italy, still without 100 percent confirmation. It’s part. I would say we interviewed 95 percent of the names we wanted to interview.”

The one who was left out was Ruud Gullit of all people. The first installment of the documentary series focuses on the Ballon d’Or, which Futre didn’t win – the narrative begins there. César Mourão and his companions tried to interview the former Dutch footballer to give his point of view, but Gullit refused. “I didn’t want to participate or talk about it. And we mentioned that in the documentation. It gives us even more reason.”

After that, the remaining episodes chronologically tell the story of Paulo Futre, from his inception at Sporting to his appointment as sporting director. “We quickly realized through Paulo’s life that it wouldn’t be easy to tell everything in one episode – even if it were a long one. There’s a lot of material there. We are also fortunate that Futre has many records of his history. We have a lot of footage from that time, from the late 80’s.”

César Mourão also says that Paulo Futre was very available from the start – although he had a different vision for the documentary series. “It was surprised with part of our vision. Like the more intimate side of him that few know. Didn’t expect to research this so extensively but afterwards was very pleased with the result. We worked together, sometimes it was easier, sometimes less.” After all, doing something together with the person on the project is always a challenge.

César Mourão’s future projects

When the start of the production company 313 (by César Mourão and Diogo Brito) was announced in September last year, two projects were mentioned. The first is this documentary about Paulo Futre, the second is a fictional thriller series that won’t come out until next year. César Mourão tells NiT that the story will focus on a serial killer – and that nowadays the narrative is split between Portugal and Spain. The production will start filming this year and will have eight episodes. The same producer is working on another series due to premiere in two years. César Mourão will be the producer, author of the original idea and screenwriter for both projects.

She is also preparing another production – this time without the participation of 313 – for Opto. “It was a coincidence because there was a brand that wanted to do a series, but that brand joined Opto and SIC. They wanted to work with me and that’s what happened. It’s a comedy series set in Porto, we don’t have a premiere date yet. It also has a very specific concept.”

The possibility of a second season of Esperança, the Opto series in which César Mourão plays an elderly woman from a typical Lisbon neighborhood, is still being explored. “We don’t know yet because there’s a lot at stake. It involves transformation, a lot of dedication.”

The creative admits he sees exploring the site with less attention going forward. “I would like to work more and more behind the camera. Realization has always fascinated me, but I have no big plans for it to happen one way or the other. I accept challenges that I identify with and that I really want to do.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean they will make more documentaries like this one about Paulo Futre. “I don’t have that goal. This documentation was created, that’s all we know. We’re totally open to producing other documentaries, football or not – it’s a format we like – but we don’t have a specific goal.”

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