By Hakan Almerfors, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – For many soccer fans, attending a game at the Maracanã when in Rio de Janeiro is a must. Brazil is famous for its flamboyant and technical game and the big stadium is its best known temple. In the last ten years the quality of Brazilian league soccer has gone down drastically due to a constant drain of players to Europe and other parts of the world. What has not changed is the passionate atmosphere in the stadiums. The national league starts in May and ends in December, and you can find what games are on here. The State Championships are held from January until April, ensuring twelve months of soccer.
On Your Own
Getting to the Maracanã is quite easy, just catch the subway, or Metrôto the stadium and buy your ticket at the office closest to the main gate. The stadium is usually only sold out for a few games per year, and in that case it’s still possible to buy from ticket scalpers in front of the arena. It may be a good idea to avoid going on your own if it is a late game or a big league match as the area around the stadium is a bit dodgy. Fights between supporters and police are common.
If you are a few people you can share a taxi to the stadium, as buses are not a good idea. The cheapest tickets are cadeiras and are on the lowest level, arquibancada is located one tier up and costs slightly more. As for the other big stadiums, Engenhão and São Januário, going on your own is not advised as they are located far away from the city center and in dangerous areas.
A more safe and convenient alternative is to go with an organized trip. Various companies offer services with transport and tickets included. It is the only 100% safe choice for games at the Maracanã with a big crowd or which start late, and for those in other stadiums. If you are staying in a hostel or hotel it is most likely that they will offer this kind of service, and if it is not available or you are staying in an apartment you can contact Brazil Expedition which organizes these kind of trips. It should be duly noted that there is a certain fun factor in going with a big group rather than on your own.
Watching International Games
For international soccer such as Champions League, European Cup and English League there are a few pubs which show them on a big screen, three of them are:
The Irish Pub – Rua Jangadeiros 14, Ipanema
Shenanigan´s Irish Pub & Sports Bar – Rua Visconde de Pirajá 112, Ipanema
Lord Jims Pub – Rua Paul Redfern 44, Ipanema
Hakan Almerfors is Swedish and has been living in Rio de Janeiro since 2003. He has been working with tourists ever since, in 2007 he created the Rio travel information site Gringo-Rio.com