Ademir De Menezes was a Brazilian Football Player.
The Maracana is the Brazilian National Football Stadium.
I suppose you’re questioning what the two have in common or how the two came to represent or find themselves deep rooted in the annals of Brazilian folklore.
To begin with Ademir De Menezes or simply Ademir as he is remembered was a star striker for the Selecao in an age when superstars of the sport were mere working men or certainly part of the local community. A far cry from the segregated superstardom that football players live in today with “Instagramed” profiles of Yachts, Super Cars and the odd selling of the soul via consumer product. This isn’t a slating exercise of the modern footballer, more a look at what football meant and resonated in the 1950’s.
Ademir began his career with majestic and working mans Football Club Sport Recife in the North-East region of Brazil. This football club which is known for the nurturing and showcasing of emerging talents has always been highly regarded for its grass root aspect to Football. This allowed for Ademir to not only hone his natural ability but to also grace the stadium of “Estádio Ilha do Retiro ” on the banks of the Atlantic Ocean.
The big clubs of Brazil came calling in the form of Vasco De Gama and Fluminese and more importantly “Selecao Brasiliero“.
The Selecao takes on mythical status in Brazil, no matter your background or indeed your interest in Football the “Selecao” as its fondly named is backed to the hilt without any wavering or murmur. Its a religion, a deep urge to support the men who don the famous Canary Yellow jersey.
But more on this national colour scheme later…
For now we focus on the delights of Ademir who graced the stadia and pitches of Brazil long before the likes of Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and dare I say Neymar Jnr. His goalscoring prowess made him a permanent fixture of the “Selecao” throughout the late 1940’s through to the early 50’s where he stole the limelight at the “1950 Coupe De Monde” scoring no less than 9 Goals and taking away the plaudits of being the tournaments top scorer.
A feat to be well remembered or not as the case may be.
To edge towards the final part of this tale we must bring in another factor and it scaled monstrously above and beyond the years that Ademir wore his national teams jersey with pride in the form of The Maracana.
The Maracana needs no introduction being one of world footballs most iconic stadiums, but where does it stand in this small tale and where does our footballing hero fall into its shadows?
We begin with the construction of The Maracana, purposely built to stage and host the “1950 Coupe De Monde” it was to be heralded as the jewel in the crown of Brazilian Football. Constructed in Rio de Janeiro and situated in between two neighboring districts it was stipulated as being the “Heartbeat” of Brazilian community and footballing spirit.
However its spiritual conquest began with one of footballs most almighty bumps in the road.
The Brazil squad housed what would be considered superstars at the 1950 World Cup and not to mention our hero Ademir. He played alongside the likes of Zininho and the simply named Jair who all made easy work of every opposing team on route to the final against little neighboring brother Uruguay.
If Ademir was the Prince then the Maracana was the Palace.
Uruguay were no push over having been crowned the winners of the Coupe De Monde at the inaugural tournament in 1930, a strong side with equally skilled and adaptable players. Uruguay may have made harder work of their route to the final however despite this they now found themselves faced with the might of Brazil inside the even mightier Maracana.
The morning of the final in Rio De Janeiro was subject to mass excitement and bustle in the streets with the famous “O Monde” newspaper already printing and distributing the infamous headline “These are the Champions of the world” with an adorning photograph of our hero Ademir and friends beaming from ear to ear. However brazil’s little brother Uruguay had other ideas as they entered the field of play to the tune of an already jubilant 200,000 strong crowd.
Cue the letting down squeal of a stretched balloon.
Brazil took the lead in a match that they only needed to draw due to the Tournament being played for the first and last time as a Round Robin styled format. Aside from this Uruguay equalized and as Jules Rimet reportedly got inside the lift to present the trophy pitchside to Brazil, Uruguay scored again.
A 2-1 victory saw Uruguay crowned World Champions again, Ademir confined to the annals of this article and a reformation of Brazilian Football that saw them strip away the White glare of their home jerseys for a more optimistic and golden saturated “Canary Yellow” that we all know and love.
Yes The Maracana still stands in triumphant glory portraying images of world beating success and indeed the good times have certainly shone fondly on this beautiful footballing nation. However its beginnings and indeed its heroes like Ademir had the brunt of its girders and fixings to bare for long after the “1950 Coupe De Monde”.