Brazil: Passionate about soccer

Everyone knows that the main sport in Brazil is soccer. Yes, we are very proud of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, we won the FIFA World Cup 5 times and our players are known worldwide.

But there is a lot about Brazilian soccer that you probably don´t know. So enjoy a few undeniable facts (or thoughts) about it:

1) Brazilian soccer players always have nicknames.

You probably have already noticed that while France has Zinédine Zidane, Germany has Oliver Kahn and England has David Beckham, Brazil has some players called Ronaldinho, Dida, Zico and Pelé.
Why? Well, for sure it is not because it is easier to pronounce, since for non-Portuguese speakers Ronaldinho just seems so hard to say, and Kaká and Cafú – which seem to be so simple – are for sure said with the wrong intonation.

I have three theories of why it could be:

a) Everyone feels like they are more intimate to the players, and the players feel closer to the audience as well. Nicknames are very usual in Brazil: even our president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is known to all by his nickname, Lula.

b) In a country with such a variety of names like Brazil, somehow the famous players end up having similar names. The greatest example is of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. Before Ronaldinho was famous, the nowadays Ronaldo was called Ronaldinho. The nowadays Ronaldinho used to be called Ronaldinho Gaúcho (little Ronaldo from Rio Grande do Sul, the state in Brazil where he comes from). This name was too long and hard to pronounce, so he ended up becoming just Ronaldinho. This meant that the old Ronaldinho would become just Ronaldo. Well, forget the confusing explanation. The fact is that with these nicknames everything is much easier. Or not.

c) The uniforms have the player´s names written on their back. If someday we would try to write the real name of our dear players, a XL shirt would not be big enough… Ronaldo = Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima; Pelé = Edison Arantes do Nascimento; Kaká = Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite and so on.

2) Brazil is in love with soccer.

Ok, so far nothing new. If we don´t count in the Carnival, soccer is probably the biggest passion of the Brazilians. Every Wednesday evening men all around the country sit in front of the TV to watch the Brazilian championship. Saturday afternoon is the day to play soccer with friends. And Sunday at 4 PM, of course, is time to watch a match on TV.

But the passionate about soccer are not only the fans, but also the players. Some Europeans say that they like watching the Brazilian Team soccer games because of the speed and nice way that the players literally “play” with the ball. I must admit, I am not really a soccer fan. But I like watching the Brazilian Team matches because of the smile stamped on the face of every player and their eyes shining when they win.

3) Attending a soccer match in Brazil is an unforgettable experience.

Especially when we have the traditional games between two teams from the same city – which means a real conflict. Thousands of fanatics, cheering, banners, tears and shouts. The vibration after each goal is huge – so are the fights between the fans after the match. Everyone curses the referee (well, his mom actually), get desperate, but in the end everything is always good again – even if your team loses and you have to see all your colleagues wearing the other team´s shirt tomorrow. Well, next week everything can be different…

4) The country stops during the World Cup.

It really does. When the Brazilian Team plays you can´t see anyone on the street; the kids don´t have to go to school, the grownups don’t work. After all, it is the biggest soccer event in the world – and things couldn’t be different in the country that is in love with it.

Watch here the video of the song “É uma partida de futebol” (A soccer match), by the Brazilian band “Skank”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftVoTWgSaQk

And now that you know a bit more about soccer in Brazil, what about testing your knowledge?

http://en.bab.la/quiz/brazilian-soccer-for-experts – Quiz Brazilian soccer for experts.
http://en.bab.la/quiz/brazilian-soccer – If the other quiz was too hard, try this one.

Ps. This week happened the election of the FIFA World Player of the Year. Unfortunately, the Brazilian Kaká didn´t get the prize: the winner was the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo. But as for the women´s soccer, good news! The Brazilian Marta got the 1st place for the 3rd consecutive year!

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2 thoughts on “Brazil: Passionate about soccer”

  1. Why is the Selecao such a good team, and in general the Brazilian such good players ?
    I was told this explanation: it’s a combination of several factors:
    – due to the huge popularity of soccer, almost every kid plays in his free time. So it’s possible to detect the better players from an early age.
    – there is so many players (amateur or professional) that the competition is very harsh: which is excellent for competitiveness.
    – many young streetplayers play with bare feet! They “feel” the ball better and have a better balance.

    🙂 We should forbid the wear of shoes to all European players, just to see if it really works.

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