Top facts about Maracana Stadium, the little big one

Fri 18 March 2022 | 5:30

Brazil is the land of football, from which many football legends have risen throughout the years, but where did they learn to play football? In this country's marvelous stadiums and one of which is Maracanã; welcome to top facts about Maracanã Stadium, the little big one.

Maracanã Stadium, also known as Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, is a Brazilian association football stadium located in Rio de Janeiro.

The stadium, which was once owned by the state of Rio de Janeiro, is now administered by Flamengo and Fluminense. It's in the Maracanã district, which gets its name from the Rio Maracanã, a now-canalized river in Rio de Janeiro.

On 16 July 1950, the stadium opened to host the FIFA World Cup, in which Brazil was defeated 2–1 by Uruguay in the decisive game in front of a still-standing record crowd of 199,854 spectators.

The stadium has seen crowds of 150,000 or more 26 times, the most recent being on May 29, 1983, when 155,253 people witnessed


defeat Santos 3–0. More than 100,000 people have visited the stadium 284 times.

However, throughout time, terraced portions have been replaced with seats, and with the 2014 FIFA World Cup restoration, its original capacity has been decreased to 78,838, yet it remains Brazil's largest stadium.

The stadium hosts football matches between Rio de Janeiro's biggest football clubs, including Flamengo, Fluminense,


, and Vasco da Gama. It's also been the site of a lot of concerts and athletic events.

The last game of the 1950 World Cup drew 199,854 spectators, making it the world's largest stadium by capacity at the time of its opening. The refurbished stadium now accommodates 78,838 people following a makeover from 2010 to 2013, making it Brazil's largest and second-largest stadium in South America after Peru's Estadio Monumental.

The football event, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies, were held there during the 2007 Pan American Games. The Maracanã was substantially reconstructed for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup, when it hosted various matches, including the final.

One-of-a-kind article of top facts about Maracanã Stadium, the little big one

In this article, we will first look at the name origin, and history of this magnificent stadium and then will take a tour in its wall and get familiar with the building and structure itself. The main purpose of this article is to uncover any kinds of facts that there is to know about this stadium. This without further ado, let us hop into the

top facts about Maracanã stadium


Maracana stadium name origin

As mentioned before, let us talk about Maracanã name origin in this part of top facts about Maracanã stadium.

In 1966, the stadium was renamed in honor of Mario Filho, a Pernambucan sports journalist, and brother of Nelson Rodrigues, who was a prominent supporter of the Maracana's construction.

The Maracana River, whose source is in the jungle-covered hills to the west, flows through numerous bairros (neighborhoods) of Rio's Zona Norte (North Zone), including Tijuca and So Cristovao, via a drainage canal with sloping concrete walls.

It flows into Guanabara Bay after flowing through the Canal do Mangue. The name "Maracana" comes from a Tupi–Guarani term for a sort of parrot that used to live in the area. The stadium was built before the subsequent Maracana neighborhood was formed, which was originally part of Tijuca.

In commemoration of the Brazilian stadium, Red Star Belgrade's stadium, the Red Star Stadium, is known as Marakana.

The Edson Arantes do Nascimento - Rei Pele Stadium was renamed by the Rio de Janeiro state assembly in March 2021. The 80-year-full old's name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, and Rei means "king" in Portuguese. Before the name change became official, the state governor of Rio de Janeiro had to ratify it.

Maracanã stadium history

Time for the history lesson. We have divided this section of top facts about Maracanã stadium into multiple parts for better accessibility and ease of understanding.

The Brazilian government intended to construct a new stadium after obtaining the right to host the 1950 FIFA World Cup. Carlos Lacerda, a former Congressman and political foe of the city's mayor, general Angelo Mendes de Morais, attacked the stadium's construction for its cost and location, claiming that it should be erected in the Jacarepaguá area of the West Zone.

A tennis stadium was located in the designated region at the time. Despite this, journalist Mário Filho backed it up, and Mendes de Morais was able to bring the idea forward.

The municipal government of Rio de Janeiro held a design and construction competition in 1947, with the construction contract going to engineer Humberto Menescal and the architectural contract going to seven Brazilian architects: Michael Feldman, Waldir Ramos, Raphael Galvo, Oscar Valdetaro, Orlando Azevedo, Pedro Paulo Bernardes Bastos, and Antônio Dias Carneiro.

On August 2, 1948, the first cornerstone was set at the stadium's location. The inaugural World Cup game was slated for June 24, 1950, leaving a little over two years to complete construction. However, work slipped behind schedule, causing FIFA to send Dr. Ottorino Barassi, the president of the Italian Football Association, who had planned the 1934 World Cup, to Rio de Janeiro to assist.

The stadium was built by a team of 1,500 people, with an extra 2,000 people working in the last months. Despite the fact that the stadium was first used in 1950, the building was not finished until 1965.

Opening match and ceremony

On June 16, 1950, the stadium hosted its first match. The Rio de Janeiro All-Stars defeated the Sao Paulo All-Stars 3–1, with Didi scoring the stadium's first goal. While the majority of the stadium had been completed, it still appeared like a building site, with no toilets or press box.

Officials in Brazil stated it could hold more than 200,000 people, but the Guinness Book of World Records assessed it could hold 180,000 people and other sources estimated it might hold 155,000.

The fact that Maracana has surpassed Hampden Park as the world's largest stadium is undeniable. Despite the stadium's incomplete status, FIFA authorized matches to be held there, and the first World Cup match was held there on June 24, 1950, with 81,000 fans in attendance.

Brazil defeated


4–0 in the inaugural match at Maracana, with Ademir being the first player to score a competitive goal at the stadium with his 30th-minute shot.

The Maracana hosted five of Brazil's six games at the tournament. Brazil eventually advanced to the final round, where they faced


in the tournament-deciding match (part of a round-robin final phase) on July 16, 1950. Brazil simply needed a draw to win the tournament, but Uruguay shocked and silenced the large crowd by winning the game 2–1.

This setback on home soil became known as the Maracanazo and became a key event in Brazilian history.

The last game's official attendance was 199,854, although the real crowd was reported to be about 210,000. In any event, it was the greatest football attendance ever—a record that is unlikely to be challenged in an era when most international matches are held in all-seater stadiums.

The stadium was largely grandstanded with no individual seats at the time of the World Cup.

Early changes

The stadium's square goalposts were replaced with round ones in 1963, but it took another two years for the stadium to be finished. The stadium was completed in 1965, 17 years after construction began.

Another top fact of top facts about Maracanã stadium is that after the death of Mário Rodrigues Filho, a Brazilian writer, columnist, sports personality, and famous activist who was primarily responsible for the stadium's original construction, the stadium was renamed Estádio Jornalista Mário Rodrigues Filho in September 1966.

The moniker Maracanã, however, has continued to be used as a frequent reference. Pelé scored his 1,000th goal at Maracanã in front of 65,157 fans in 1969 against CR Vasco do Gama.

Another fact of top facts about Maracanã is that in 1989, the stadium hosted games in the Copa America final round; that same year,


scored his final goal for Flamengo in the Maracanã, bringing his total goal tally at the stadium to 333, a record that held until 2021.

Here is a sad fact of top facts about Maracanã stadium: on July 19, 1992, during the second game of the 1992 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A final between Botafogo and


, an upper stand of the stadium collapsed, killing three fans and wounding 50 others.

The stadium's capacity was considerably decreased after the accident when it was transformed into an all-seater stadium in the late 1990s.

Meanwhile, in 1998, the site was designated as a national monument, meaning it could not be demolished. The stadium hosted the first-ever FIFA Club World Cup final between CR Vasco da Gama and Corinthians Paulista, which was won on penalties by Corinthians.

Later developments

The stadium received upgrades after its 50th anniversary in 2000, bringing its total capacity to roughly 103,000. The stadium reopened in January 2007 with an all-seated capacity of 87,000 after years of development and a nine-month shut down between 2005 and 2006.

A large rebuilding project was started in 2010 in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. The old two-tier seating bowl was removed, and a new one-tier seating bowl was built in its place. The concrete roof of the old stadium was replaced with a fiberglass tensioned membrane covered in polytetrafluoroethylene.

Unlike the previous design, which only protected certain seats in the top ring and the bleachers above each sector's gate access, the new roof protects 95 percent of the seats within the stadium.

During the rebuilding, the former boxes, which were built at a level above the stands for the 2000 FIFA Club World Championship, were destroyed. The new seats are yellow, blue, and white, which, when coupled with the match field's green, constitute the Brazilian national colors. In addition, the stadium's primary façade color has returned to a grey tone.

In the next part of

top facts about Maracanã stadium

, we will talk about the new managers of this gigantic arena.

Maracanã stadium new managers

After some dreadful years for this amazing stadium, Maracanã can be improved again under the new management. Let us read about it in this section of top facts about Maracanã stadium.

The French firm Lagardère secured an agreement to manage the Maracana on April 5, 2017. By the conclusion of the concession, which was secured by Odebrecht in 2013 and is valid until 2048, Lagardère will have invested more than R$500 million.

According to the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, the company believes that emergency stadium modifications will cost around R$15 million.

The proposal to operate the stadium for 35 years was won in 2013 by the former managers of Odebrecht, AEG, and IMX, a business owned by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista. The firm was linked to OAS, a Brazilian construction company, and the Amsterdam Arena. Lagardère was in second place in the bidding at the time.

Maracanã stadium other uses

Except for football, Maracanã has been used for numerous purposes like musical events and other sports competitions. Let's read about it in this section of top facts about Maracanã stadium.

On October 23, 1951, the Maracana hosted the historic vale tudo bout between Japanese judoka Masahiko Kimura and Brazilian jiu-jitsu star Hélio Gracie. Many in Brazil thought Gracie was unstoppable in martial arts at the time, and that if Kimura lost, he would not be accepted back to Japan.

After breaking Gracie's arm with a gyaku-ude-garami hold, which has since become known as a Kimura lock in BJJ and mixed martial arts, Kimura won by technical submission.

Volleyball matches between Brazil and the Soviet Union were held on the ground in 1980 and 1983. One of the volleyball matches drew 95,000 spectators, setting a new world record.

The stadium was also chosen to hold the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Summer Paralympics; it is the only Summer Olympics ceremonies site that has never hosted an athletics (track and field) event.

Musical events

A-ha, a Norwegian pop band, set a world record for a fee-paying crowd during the Rock in Rio festival in 1991. There were 198,000 persons in attendance.

On the 30th anniversary of the stadium, Frank Sinatra played in front of a crowd of 175,000 on January 16, 1980.

With their performances at the stadium, Tina Turner and Paul McCartney entered the Guinness Book of World Records. Both concerts drew crowds of over 180,000 people in January 1988 (Break Every Rule Tour) and April 1990 (The Paul McCartney World Tour).

KISS performed in front of 137,000 spectators at the stadium on June 18, 1983, setting a new record for the band.

This and two additional stadium gigs in Brazil would be the last time KISS would wear their characteristic makeup until their Alive/Worldwide Tour in 1996 when the original band would reunite. Kiss was the first big international rock band to perform in the Maracanã.

The stadium hosted the second edition of Rock in Rio from January 18 to 27, 1991, with headliners Prince, Guns N' Roses, George Michael, INXS, a-ha, and New Kids on the Block.

Michael Jackson, the American pop musician, was scheduled to play here in October 1993 as part of his Dangerous World Tour, however, the show was canceled owing to tour reorganization.

The Rolling Stones, Sting, and Madonna are the only worldwide music performers to have performed in Maracanã several times. On November 20, 1987, Sting kicked off his “Nothing Like the Sun” international tour at the stadium.

On December 8, 2007, he returned with The Police to perform there for the first time in 20 years. Madonna performed the Girlie Show in front of 150,000 fans on November 6, 1993, and then again 15 years later on the 14th and 15th of December 2008, as part of the Sticky & Sweet Tour, selling over 107,000 tickets.

The Rolling Stones performed two concerts at the stadium on February 2 and 4, 1995, as part of the Hollywood Rock Festival. On February 20, 2016, the band returned to Maracanã.

Foo Fighters performed in front of 45,000 fans at Maracana Stadium on January 25, 2015, as part of their Sonic Highways World Tour. It was the stadium's first music performance since it was constructed. On February 25, 2018, the band returned to the stadium as part of their Concrete and Gold Tour.

The arena also hosted Rush, Backstreet Boys, Pearl Jam, and Coldplay. Rush's live CD and DVD Rush in Rio chronicle their concert in Rio in 2002. RBD, a Mexican pop band, also performed their live DVD, Live in Rio. Ivete Sangalo, Sandy & Junior, Diante do Trono, Roberto Carlos, and Los Hermanos were among the Brazilian performers who performed at the stadium.

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