Brazilian Soccer Museum Embodies Nation’s Heartbeat
The museum itself is located directly in a soccer stadium, where teams like the Corinthians and Palmeiras play in front of the most dedicated fan bases in the Southern hemisphere. For less than four dollars, a ticket grants the purchaser a high-tech, wonderfully paced tour of the beautiful game.
The first floor is dedicated to showcasing all of the balls used in the World Cups, noting technological differences as well as the symbolism of each ball’s art design. The walls are covered with all sorts of art and memorabilia dedicated to the sport.
Up one flight of stairs is a room that commemorates Brazil’s greatest players, particularly Pelé and Garrinha, Brazil’s national heroes. The next room is under the stadium bleachers themselves, where an impressive sound system emulates the high-energy state of the crowd during a match while images from games play on a wide screen.
In a country known for World Cup greatness, one exhibit summarizes the reason for Brazil’s intense desire to win: the 1950 World Cup loss to Uruguay that was hosted by Brazil. In a game where Brazil only needed a tie to win, a late Uruguayan goal all but extinguished Brazil’s hopes for a championship.
“After the goal is scored, there is silence. The heartbeat of a nation stops as a dream dies,” voices the narrator, describing the excruciating pain that rippled through the over-capacity stadium that day. That feeling remains an integral part of Brazilian soccer culture to this very day.
Aside from that particular World Cup, another intriguing exhibit shows how the World Cup fits into the context of history. One room has a kiosk for each World Cup: look up to see photos and captions of events that preceded and succeeded each Cup, look down to see the players’ eternal youth captured by the cameras.
The most enjoyable exhibit relates soccer facts, expressions, and trivia to museum patrons. The record for most players kicked out of a match? Twenty-two. The number of goals the legendary Pelé scored in his career? A staggering 1,281. Think the ball is of bad quality? Call it the ever-amusing “bola quadrada”, or square ball. Want to describe a hard and fast shot that flew right by the goalkeeper? The expression is “estofar o barbante”, or translated literally, “to quilt the string”.
Overall, the Museu do Futebol provides a unique glimpse into Brazilian culture through the medium of soccer. This one-of-a-kind experience which examines the world’s most popular sport is worth the price of admission, many times over.
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