Using the powerful technique of a frame narrative, director Verneuil goes on to tell the story of an ex-convict (Belmondo), who returns to his scene of "crime". He returns to the people he was involved with and ponders about the good and bad times he had. What really happened all these years ago? What is he going to do? Actually, the past is not catching up with him, he is catching up with the past.
A serious, intelligent (even intellectual) film, subtle to the nth degree, a must-see. And yet nobody (or hardly anybody) knows of its existence. Discover this masterpiece. It's worth it. No one (repeat: NO ONE) has linked the past and present better than Henri Verneuil. If you want to know what filmmaking can be about (and mostly isn't), check this out.
If you make it through this film and still think that it's about football, Hollywood has changed your perception for the worse. Tune your brain in to Henri Verneuil and this film and you will SEE.
Watch Le Corps de Mon Ennemi. Watch I... Comme Icare (Verneuil's follow-up) and you'll KNOW what you have missed all these years.