quarta-feira, outubro 15, 2008

Football / Soccer in Rio

One of the city´s landmark is Maracanã Stadium, temple of the sport by which Brazil is (was?) worldwide known. So 9 out of 10 travellers come here, have the same question - how can I see a game at Maracanã?

First things first - Rio has 4 first division teams (national and local leagues), so far - Flamengo, Botafogo, Fluminense and Vasco. The local championship happens from late January until april and the national championship goes from may to december. Sometimes we have some international competitions with Rio´s teams involved, like Libertadores da America, Copa Sul Americana. The best source of information is O Globo sports session - http://oglobo.globo.com/esportes - they have the most accurate information, but clicking on the "tabelas" (charts) to see the fixtures.

Flamengo and Fluminense games are usually helds at Maracanã; Botafogo has his rented stadium, Engenhão (best reachable by suburbian trains that comes from Central Station - the one from the movie) and Vasco plays at their home, São Januário (also on the north zone of Rio).

Tickets are usually avaliable a week before the game happens, at Maracanã (when the game is held there) and on the clubs venues (If you are in Ipanema or Leblon, best place is going to Flamengo place, next to Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. If you are staying in Copacabana, Botafogo, better go to Botafogo team place, close to Rio Sul mall or to Fluminense place, in Laranjeiras). If is a derby, I recomend buying as soon as its avaliable, specially for a Flamengo game (last sunday the team brought 81.000 people to the stadium, playing with a team from minas gerais, and they lost). Tickets vary between R$ 20 to R$ 100, depending on the game and on the season. The green and yellow stands are, in my opinion, the best place to be.

How to get there? The best way to go is getting the subway until estácio station on line 1, then change to maracanã stadium station, with line 2. There is a big path that links the station to the stadium, with policemen watching all the time. Best arrive at least 2 hours prior the game, specially if you still have no ticket. Its also a good oportunity to choose your side (if is a local derby), mingle with brazilians and have beers, as they are not sold inside Maracanã stadium.

If you are soooo unlucky (like me, when I went to Buenos Aires and couldnt see any game of Boca Juniors at La Bombonera) to be in Rio and couldnt find a game to go, you still can do a tour at Maracanã. It happens every day, from 9am to 5pm, including holidays. When there is a game, the tour finishes 5 hours before the game (if is at 4pm, finishes at noon; if the game is on 6pm, finishes at 1pm). Entrance is at gate 15. Costs R$ 20, and eldery, disable people, students and people that can prove that they live in Rio, pay half price.

More info in portuguese - http://www.suderj.rj.gov.br/visitacao_maracana.asp

One more piece of advice - its ok to take your camera, but keep an eye on your belongins and try not to get into trouble by arguing with the other group of suporters. There are always some angry people around there, but if you dont mess with them, you will have a great time at the Biggest stadium on earth!!!!!!!