The Football Stadiums of Rio de Janeiro

By Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Sports Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Being a city renowned for its passion for o jogo bonito (The Beautiful Game), and with the legendary Maracanã Stadium out of action until 2013, Rio’s football (soccer) fans are left without an iconic sporting seat. There is still plenty of action to watch though, and the alternatives in Rio are Botafogo’s Engenhão Stadium, and Vasco’s São Januario Stadium.

The Engenhão Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sports, News

The Engenhão Stadium, photo by Martins Tito/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

The Engenhão, or Estadio Olimpico João Havelange, to give the arena its full name, opened its doors in 2007 after four years in the making. Named after the former FIFA president, the stadium gets its nickname from its location in the Engenho de Dentro neighborhood.

Since its opening, the stadium has been the home ground of Rio side Botafogo. However, the club do not own the stadium, instead renting it from the City of Rio de Janeiro, meaning many fans fail to recognize the ground as a true “home”.

Since the temporary closing of the Maracanã for renovations required by FIFA and the 2014 World Cup, rival clubs Fluminense and Flamengo have also set up camp at the stadium, due it being the biggest public stadium left in the city. But not all fans are happy.

Lifelong Flamengo fan Caio Neves is one supporter certainly looking forward to the return of the Maracanã. “Travel to and from the Engenhão makes life far more complicated. I live in Niterói, meaning I have to take the ferry to Rio and then a bus to get to the match. Before, I could take a direct bus to the Maracanã in just 45 minutes.”

The best way to get to Engenhão from the Rio’s city center is by bus. On Avenida Presidente Vargas, the 277 bus heading north drops people right outside the stadium.

For atmosphere, Vasco' São Januario wins hands down, photo by Edmar Moreira/Vasco Imagem.

In contrast, Vasco own the historic São Januario Stadium that they have called home for over 75 years. What it lacks in modern architecture it more than makes up for in atmosphere.

Built on a European model in the mid 1920s, the four terraces stand close to the pitch; when the stadium is sold out, which happens far more frequently than with the Engenhão, the din from the top of the picturesque hill can be deafening.

The stadium can hold close to 35,000 fans and was the first football stadium to be built in Rio. No wonder the Vascainas are proud of their ancient home. Like the more modern Engenhão, the stadium is located in Zona Norte (North Zone) and it can be difficult to get there if you don’t know where you are going.

It is possible to take the train, but the best way is by the 473 bus which drops outside the gates. Located on a hill in the Vasco da Gama neighborhood area, this stadium is worth the visit, if not just for the view then to see Ricardo Gomes’ vastly improving Vasco side play.

The Maracanã doors will remain closed for approximately another eighteen months, currently scheduled for reopening in January 2013. Now is the perfect opportunity to get out and explore a little more of the city’s rich football heritage.

42 Responses to "The Football Stadiums of Rio de Janeiro"

  1. Pingback: Four for Four in Round Six in Brasileiro | The Rio Times

  2. Pingback: Military World Games Come to Rio | The Rio Times

  3. Pingback: Vasco and Botafogo Mount Brasileirão Title Challenge | The Rio Times I Brazil News

  4. Pingback: Looking Back at the 2011 Brasileirão | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  5. Pingback: Campeonato Carioca Kicks Off: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  6. Pingback: Campeonato Carioca 2012 Kicks Off in Rio: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  7. Pingback: Flamengo Make Libertadores Group Stage: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  8. Pingback: Flu and Vasco Enter the Libertadores | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  9. Pingback: Rio's Big Four in 2012 Taça Guanabara Semis | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  10. Pingback: Vasco and Fluminense in final of 2012 Taça Guanabara: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  11. Pingback: Roger Waters Performs The Wall Live in Rio de Janeiro, Thursday March 29th | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  12. Pingback: Botafogo Beat Vasco to Win 2012 Taça Rio | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  13. Pingback: Vasco With Win Secure Advantage in Libertadores: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  14. Pingback: Fluminense Win First in Campeonato Carioca | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  15. Pingback: Vasco Reach Libertadores Quarters: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  16. Pingback: Fluminense Crowned 2012 Carioca Champions | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  17. Pingback: Vasco, Corinthians Goalless First Leg in Copa Libertadores: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  18. Pingback: Four Straight Wins Put Vasco Top in 2012 Campeonato Brasileirão | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  19. Pingback: Flu Thrash Atlético-GO in Brasileirão While Vasco, Flamengo and Botafogo Lose | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  20. Pingback: Vasco Victory in 10th Round of the 2012 Brasileirão: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  21. Pingback: Fluminense Drop Points in 2012 Brasileirão Round Seventeen: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  22. Pingback: Flamengo Win Classico in 2012 Brasileirão | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  23. Pingback: Fluminense Beat Vasco to Close in on Top Spot in 2012 Brasileirão | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  24. Pingback: 2012 Brasileirão 2nd Half Kicks Off: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  25. Pingback: Fluminense and Vasco Win in 2012 Brasileirão: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  26. Pingback: Carioca Clubs Stumble in 2012 Brasileirão Round 25: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  27. Pingback: Flamengo Ease Pressure at Bottom of 2012 Brasileirão: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  28. Pingback: Flamengo Beat Atlético in 27th Round of 2012 Brasileirão: Daily | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  29. Pingback: Vasco Win in 2012 Brasileirão to Stay in Top Four: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  30. Pingback: Fluminense Triumph in Fla-Flu Classico: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  31. Pingback: Adriano Return to Flamengo in Doubt: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  32. Pingback: Flamengo Draw in 2012 Brasileirão Round 30: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  33. Pingback: Fluminense Maintain 2012 Brasileirão Lead: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  34. Pingback: Fluminense Held to Draw in Brasileirão: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  35. Pingback: Flamengo End Winless Streak in 2012 Brasileirão: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  36. Pingback: Fogo Win in Brasileirão: Daily | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  37. Pingback: Flamengo Safe in Brasileirão After Win Over Figueirense: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  38. Pingback: Fluminense Crowned 2012 Brasileirão Champions: Daily Updates | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  39. Pingback: Fluminense Officially Crowned Champions in 2012 Brasileirão: Daily | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  40. Pingback: Vasco and Flamengo Draw 1x1 in Classico: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  41. Pingback: Campeonato Brasileiro Reaches Halfway Stage | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  42. Pingback: Fluminense Unbeaten in Five Brasileirão Games: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.