A curious fact about my living abroad experience is that whenever I say I am Brazilian, I often hear these words: Rio de Janeiro and football. As I’ve already written about Rio and the Olympic Games in 2016, I’ll write a bit about a Brazilian passion: football.
Football is part of a Brazilians’ everyday life. It is the country’s main sport and it is an excuse for everything: jokes, friendship and enmity, to start a conversation, to begin and to end a relationship and also to go out for a drink with friends in the nearest bar. I confess that I’ve hated this game for a long time. Whenever I was watching an amazing show on TV on Sundays I had to give my place to my father, my brother and his friends. Football time was sacred: a match is a match and nothing I could say would persuade them to let me keep watching another programme.
In fact, even those who are not football fans end up cheering and rooting for the national team at World Cup time. It is great fun: all together eating, drinking, watching the game, suffering and celebrating together. It is very difficult to find a Brazilian who is immune to football. If the game is against Argentina then we are the most cheerful fans ever!
The Brazilian National Football Team has won the World Cup the most: five times. It is also the only team to take part in all World Cup editions held until 2014.
One of the main Brazilian players of all time, known and idolized worldwide turned 69 years old last October. Pelé, three time world champion for Brazil, is infamous when it comes to football. Ten interesting facts about “The King of Football”:
- His name, Edson, is a tribute to the inventor Thomas Edison.
- His original nickname was “Bilé”. However, his friends misunderstood it and began to call him “Pelé”.
- Pelé was largely responsible for immortalizing the number 10 shirt in football. It is not an official rule, but after Pelé number 10 is supposed to be worn by the best team player, both in Brazil and abroad.
- He was first called “King of Football” by the French, during the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. He was just 17 at the time.
- In 1958, Pelé broke the record for most goals scored in just one edition of the Campeonato Paulista: 58 goals.
- He still is the youngest World Champion.
- He never won a Brazilian Championship.
- He recorded an ad in Spanish for Atari Video Game
- Pelé played with Garrincha for the last time in England in 1966, in England. Brazil never lost a game when they were playing together.
- He is the top scorer in the history of Brazilian National Team: 95 goals