By Lise Alves, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – In between World Cup games, die-hard football (soccer) fans visiting in São Paulo can better understand why Brazilians have a passion for the sport at the Museu do Futebol, located at the entrance of the Pacaembu Stadium.
The museum shows the history of football, Brazilian football legends and the World Cup Games since its beginning in 1930. It has old movie clips and radio transmissions from famous football games, interviews with football personalities in Brazil and an entire room dedicated to Brazil’s football ‘king’ Pele.
Even if all the information is not translated into other languages, says Daniela Alfonsi, director of information and content at the museum, foreign visitors still get the feel for the sport and what it means to Brazilians. “They are able to understand here why we are THE football country.”
According to Alfonsi, the attendance in the past few days has increased significantly. “We usually have around 1,200 visitors per day at the museum, but now with the World Cup the number of visitors has shot up to 2,500 per day.”
The Rio Times met up with Americans James Martin III, from Colorado, and Kevin Andryc, from Pennsylvania, at the museum. The two friends, who will be following the U.S. national team to Manaus and Natal in the next few weeks, stopped by the museum while in São Paulo and were surprised with its interactive exhibits.
“[Football] has an incredible history,” said Martin, “I loved the interaction and the animation in some of these exhibits.” His friend, Andryc, agreed, “I had my doubts at first about coming to this museum. I thought it was going to be kind of dull, but it’s amazing.”
Andryc, after spending a few minutes listening to crowds [from thirty Brazilian teams] roar from huge 90-degree panels, was impressed. “The sound is almost deafening. It made me understand a bit more about Brazilians and their passion for soccer. Some of these exhibits really come alive.”
Drazen Dzambo, from Sibenik, Croatia, joined the two Americans through their tour of the museum. “Although I missed the fact that there were places that no English translation was available, the museum is great,” he said.
One of his favorites was the screening room where visitors could see the final moments of the 1950’s World Cup final when Uruguay beat Brazil 2-1 in the final minutes of the second half. “The silence at Maracanã stadium during those seconds [when Uruguay scored the winning goal] was amazing.”
Dzambo also had the chance to ‘play’ Brazilian superstar Neymar in an interactive game where the Brazilian striker passes the ball to the visitor, who then has to kick the ball back. After two unsuccessful tries, Dzmabo is able to pass the ball back, “It takes a while to get the hang of the game but I loved it,” he smiled.
Until the end of the FIFA World Cup (July 13th) the museum is opened from Tuesday through Sunday from 9AM to 9PM. Tickets cost R$6 but entrance is free on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Museu do Futebol
Praça Charles Miller, s/n – Pacaembu, SP