Photo by Olivier “iko” Petit.
Maracanã, international symbol of soccer-land, preserves the history of the sport that looks just like Brazil.
Among the wonders of Rio, Maracanã, the largest stadium in the world, is one of the country’s major tourist and cultural patrimonies. In the land of soccer, where this sport is almost a religion, many consider it the “Temple of the Gods”. It was built in 1950 for the World Cup, and designed to hold 166,369 spectators.
Now, the Maracanã stadium it’s been reformed to host the final game of the Brazilian world cup, in 2014. The capacity of the soccer temple will be reduced from its present 87,000 to 82,000 at world cup governing body Fifa’s recommendation.
Maracanã official name
Its official name, Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, is a tribute to one of the most important Brazilian journalists, founder of the newspaper “Jornal dos Esportes”. On 16 June 1950, Maracanã was inaugurated with a match between a team from Rio and one from São Paulo, with immortal Didi scoring the first goal in the history of the stadium. Since then it has been the stage of great triumphs of Brazilian soccer, including the decision of the world championship for clubs in 1963. Approximately 200 thousand people witnessed then the victory of Pelé’s Santos over Milan, the Italian team.
Passion, emotion and lots of adrenalin in the organized supporters shake the stadium and make the public delirious. A compulsory visit for national and international tourists, students and people of all ages, the giant has become internationally known and loses in popularity only to the statue of Christ and the Sugar Loaf.
Maracanã is not only about soccer shows. Great musical productions have taken place there with celebrated international idols such as Frank Sinatra, Madonna, the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Prince and Paul MacCarthney. The latter entered the book of records in 1991 as having the largest audience in history, up to that time, for a solo singer presentation. Other important events were the celebration of an open air mass in 1980 and the Meeting with Families in 1997, both under the leadership of Pope John Paul II.
On the day of Maracanã’s 50th anniversary, June 16th 2000, the Hall of Fame, honoring the period’s top 50 soccer players, was inaugurated. The most important aces in the history of soccer left their footprints for posterity on the sidewalk of fame.
Zico, Roberto Dinamite, Luisinho Lemos, Romário, Quarentinha, Valdo, Pinga, Garrincha, Dida and Bebeto were given the title of ten greatest goal scorers.
Maracanã and the Brazil World Cup 2014
Maracanã is now under reform to the Brazil World Cup 2014. The lendary soccer stadium will be the stage of the final game of 2014 World Cup in Brazil.