Aldar In ‘The Beautiful Game’ Explained: How Does Aldar Impact Vinny?

We claim to live in an age of information, yet we pretend to know nothing about the sufferings of others. We’re controlled by the media, and we believe in whatever propaganda we come across. Political biases and privilege play another role in what we think about the world. The Beautiful Game portrays the lives of people who have not had the privilege to even have a house for themselves. While millions of people have been displaced in regions like Syria and Palestine, Aldar’s story shows the life of a refugee and adds a new perspective on homelessness. In a world that practically kicks people and forces them to earn a living and adhere to the norms of society, we may as well never understand why begging and homelessness are prominent social issues. 


Aldar’s character, however, shatters the prejudices of ableism and even elitism that we harbor against homeless people. People often tend to find ways to rationalize their hatred towards homeless people, the way Vinny does. In a grand spectacle of hypocrisy, Vinny was himself a homeless person. Vinny had prejudices against his teammates, and he found a way to rationalize his derogatory opinions about them.

Spoilers Ahead 


Who Is Aldar? 

Aldar is a young man in his late 20s, living as a refugee in London. He is a Kurd from the Kurdish part of Syria, and he lived in his village in Syria before it was bombed. Adding to the tragedy, he lost his entire family in the bombing. Before his life as a homeless refugee in London, he was a barber and wishes to go back to his profession once he goes back to Syria. As a player, Aldar is not a trained footballer, like most of the players at the tournament, but is a clever strategist. Aldar’s story plays an important role in making Vinny realize his faults and prejudices against his teammates. He never thought that he’d be traveling around the world to play football, but he does, and he’s extremely glad about it. In an instance while in Rome, he happily expresses that the thing he likes about the city of Rome is that no bombs are raining from the sky. 

Is Aldar Neurodivergent? 

Aldar’s character also hints at neurodiversity, particularly for someone on the autism spectrum. Although mostly because of his language barrier in an English-speaking country, Aldar doesn’t seem to understand social cues and what others are thinking. Throughout the movie, Aldar is seen misunderstanding Vinny’s high-context lingo and replies with something simpler, which may even sound idiotic to others. 


A neurotypical person, or, in simpler words, a person who does not suffer from any neurodivergent condition, at first glance might even think that Aldar has lower intelligence than most people, but that is definitely not the case. Aldar likes things simplified in his head. When it comes to communication, Aldar prefers that the message being communicated be stripped of its contextual meanings. However, this communicative preference does not suggest that he is not smart. In a pattern similar to his communication, Aldar prefers to simplify ideas and instructions into plans. This can be seen in an instance during England’s match with Portugal. During the first half of the match, England’s team is losing because of mismanagement, but after Vinny suggests that they can win with a plan, Aldar expresses approval and how he likes things in plans. He also seems to remember intrinsic details, like the accurate distance between Rome and Cape Town. 

As mentioned earlier, Aldar is a brilliant strategist. He might not have the skills needed to win his team the Cup, but he stores information like nobody else. It seems like Aldar has created himself a mind palace, and he is not aware of it. Following England’s win against Portugal, Aldar doesn’t need to think twice. He immediately starts to do his homework on the other teams. Aldar gets lost in his thoughts and creates this chart of all the teams and their strengths and weaknesses. It’s almost like Aldar can visualize this arrangement in front of his eyes. We may never know how things look inside the complex mind of Aldar, but my best guess is that he has allotted different parts of his intellectual mind to specific memories and their respective information. It’s kind of like a computer array with different keywords and the detailed information allocated to these keywords. After realizing how Aldar thinks, even his teammates realize his genius. 


There are neurodivergent people like me who are self-aware and are often inhibited by our knowledge of our conditions, but then there’s Aldar. He is not inhibited by the differences he was probably born with, probably because he is not even aware of them in the first place. There’s probably a bit of innocence in the way he sees this world, but nonetheless, he is a grown man and does his best to see right and wrong. 

Why Doesn’t Aldar Want To Play In The Match Against Italy? 

Despite his innocent and carefree exterior, Aldar is haunted by a traumatic past. His country has been torn apart by the civil war. The ethnic group he belongs to, the Kurdish people, is one of the belligerents in this multi-ethnic conflict. The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces, the group with which Aldar is associated, are in coalition with multiple world powers, including the US and the UK. While one of their rival groups is the Turkmen Syrians, like the Kurds, they are an ethnic group related to the Turkish people but have been living in Syria since the Ottoman era. It would be unfair to blatantly point fingers at either the Kurds or the Turkmen for this ethnic conflict because neither of them is responsible. Though objectively, the French and English occupation of the Levant before the 1940s can definitely be attributed to this ongoing conflict. 

However, years after the country of Syria plunged into a full-blown conflict, Afrin, a Kurd city in Syria, was bombed, killing several people. Aldar, being one of the people who lost their families in the bombing, now represents England in the Homeless World Cup, and his feelings of hatred against the people who killed his family have come to an end. The captain of the Italian team, Joram, is a Turkmen Syrian, which causes a personal conflict for Aldar. Joram belonged to the group of people responsible for his life falling into pieces, and he couldn’t look over Joram’s ethnicity in comparison to his interest in winning the match. This is why he declares that he will not be playing the match against Italy. Mal Bradley, England’s manager, abides by his intentions and assures him that he need not feel guilty about the outcomes of the match. However, when he sees that his team is losing the match, with Vinny on the bench for a red card, he enters the court again, giving his all against Italy. 

Even though England loses the match by a near miss, his involvement in the match in defiance of his own personal animosity against the Turkmen makes him see the spirit of sportsmanship that transcends national and ethnic boundaries. For Aldar, Joram was another player for whom he had developed a lot of respect. In the end, Aldar and Joram put aside their past and embrace each other, finding a strange sense of belonging through this beautiful game. 


How Does Aldar Impact Vinny?

Vinny was a homeless man as well, which is why he was eligible for the Homeless World Cup. However, Vinny’s opinions were clouded by his own insecurities and arrogance about his status as a former football player. He often failed to see that the Homeless World Cup was not about winning but about finding purpose through a beautiful sport. Aldar’s presence on the team reformed Vinny’s opinions. Everyone else on the team was homeless because they had demons in their pasts they were fighting. Cal was a father who abandoned his child; Nathan was a recovering drug addict; Jason was a thief; and Kevin had been a gambler. However, Aldar was a homeless man in the UK because life had been simply unfair to him. 

Vinny recognizes that he is wrong about why people become homeless when he realizes that it isn’t Aldar’s fault that his city was bombed. He was just a barber who wanted to live a peaceful life, but the political agendas of a few men snatched that chance at life from Aldar. If it weren’t for Aldar, Vinny would’ve never embraced the fact that it is okay to be in a bad situation. What’s important for all of these men was that they were on a path to redemption and were doing better in life. This tournament had given them a chance they would’ve never gotten otherwise. 


Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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