I am in Brazil. The land where football is a religion; where some of the greatest players continue to come from.
It is truly amazing to see, and one gets to understand the passion: it is beyond mere fanaticism, a mere “Hobby”. It is something that is inherent in everything – just taken for granted. I love it.
And one understands the super-power status they hold in the beautiful game: one sees people, kids, everywhere playing it. Football pitches, balls, improvised, in perfect state, professional, amateur, all ages. This is not Tanzania, where they think this is “government support” – it’s a way of life!
I recently loved watching a game in a small bar in Paraty, just to feel the passionate atmoshpere. It was between the two Rio-teams Flamengo and Vasco da Gama (the “Classic of the Millions” as it is known as). Flamengo is probably the most traditional club in Brazilian football; at least the one with the most fans, and the bar in Paraty was no exception: the place was packed with passionate Flamengo supporters who celebrated feverishly when Flamengo went ahead 1-0 on a grave defensive error by Vasco da Gama. Still, this was nothing compared to the celebration when Cristian scored an absolutely stunning long-shot goal.
Beauty was celebrated much more than a “mere” goal.
Flamengo is now my adopted Brazilian team.