I have to preface this post with a warning that my family has some really big soccer fans. The only problem is that each member of my family likes a different team. So we have to be careful who we go where to do what when it comes to soccer in Brasil. My son evens changes his jerseys depending on who he’s with.
My sister is about a hardcore Corinthians fan, my brother in law is a Santos fan and my brother a Sao Paulo fan. We found the perfect things to do with all these crazy soccer fans, go to the football museum (Museu do Futebol). This is a really fun museum built under the bleachers of the Pacaembu Stadium. It has a lot of memorabilia and video footage from several soccer teams and the Brazilian national team. It also shows the history of football in Brazil beginning with a German who brought football to Brazil. It was played by English men and some of the elite. It was so fancy that they all wore silk jerseys. It was meant to be something that only the elite did, but it took root in the Brazilian society and now is an integral part of the culture. My family really liked the part where they show video footage of the fans during a soccer game. It was really nice to watch their expressions of joy and disappointment. There’s also a large part dedicated to the laws of the game and the different positions which is good for people who don’t know how to play soccer. There’s of course a lot of memorabilia about Pele. He is Brazil’s greatest soccer hero and arguably the best soccer player in the world. We were able to spend a really nice rainy afternoon at this museum and everyone was excited and had fun. You also get to see the stadium and at the end you can purchase soccer memorabilia from all the Brazilian soccer teams.
My son liked that he was able to purchase a personalized Corinthians Jersey. He wanted a Brazilian league soccer ball but it was really expensive. We were able to buy more Corinthians memorabilia at a store dedicated to the team in the Ibirapuera mall. It has anything a fan might ever need or want. There is also a Sao Paulo FC store at the same mall.
The second thing we did that was really fun was visit the Santos stadium and Memorial to their Victories. Unfortunately the day we were visiting they were doing some maintenance and we weren’t able to visit all the parts of the stadium (locker rooms). But we went to the memorial which is built to remember all the titles that the team has conquered. All the trophies they’ve won through the years, including the latest from the Libertadores da America, were on display. Also there’s a large part dedicated to Pele and Neymar. My son really liked taking pictures with the statues of his soccer idols.
You have the opportunity to visit the stadium as well. By a struck of luck somebody had left the gate to the field open. So my son was able to run in the field where Pele and Neymar played. It truly is a young soccer player’s dream. Hopefully someday he’ll play here and be Santos next hero, score 1091 goals and win 3 world cups like Pele. But for today he was just happy to walk on this hallowed ground.
After all this soccer there’s nothing better than a fish fry by the beach. Then you can walk off all that food on the beach. Be warned that portions are big. The fried bananas and heart of palm really gave this a taste of Brazil. Remember that Santos is only about an hour away from Sao Paulo.
Don’t wait for the world cup to live soccer in Brazil. It’s alive and part of the culture everyday. Just ask the first person you meet about their team and you’ll see what passion is like. Soccer is more of a religion (or a disease) and the ball is worshiped, the players are the high priests and your team is your family. Goooooal!!!