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Montevideo – The Unnoticed City Of Football

767   //    16 Dec 2012, 09:03 IST

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY – NOVEMBER 18: General Views of the stadium before the 2010 FIFA World Cup Play Off Second Leg Match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at The Estadio Centenario on November 18, 2009 in Montevideo, Uruguay.

As I read through a script in the memoirs from the mind of the young and guiltless Ernesto Che Guevara, I come across him pondering over a thought as he takes in the scenic beauty of Machu Picchu in Peru:

How is it possible to feel nostalgia for a world I never knew?

Montevideo – a sea side city, the most populated in Uruguay, has a history of its own in the football realm. If history is any bit important in this domain that we live in, then the niche that keeps us entertained as we try to move on through this life should be significant as well. And it is.

The fact that all the games for the inaugural World Cup in 1930 were played in the city, has little to no exposure to the global footballing community. Prodigious stadiums in the form of Estádio do Maracanã (Brazil), Wembley (England), Estadio Azteca (Mexico) and La Bombanera (Argentina) exist in our minds, but have we heard of Estadio Centenario in Montevideo? Listed as one of the classic by FIFA, similar to how UNESCO categorizes a heritage site, the stadium which is still in use was built in 9 months. Cities barely manage to get a stadium developed within 9 months with the modern infrastructure that currently exists today, so one can imagine the process in 1920’s.

Montevideo, at present, is a bustling city of 1.3 million people and has a beautiful combination between the old colonial feel and that of a city with a hustle of a modern city. And the striking aspect of all this is that the city being smaller in density compared to the likes of London or Madrid, is the home of 14 of the 16 domestic first division clubs in the Primera division of Uruguay. The big three being Peñarol, Nacional and Danubio. Iterating the fact again: 14 of the top division clubs in Uruguay come from Montevideo.

As my thought lingers away from the sport and all its innovativeness, I come back to wondering what if Che had managed to include this city in his pan South America trip. But for now as I read through all things Montevideo, a tweaked version of Che’s pondering thought comes to my mind.

How is it possible to feel nostalgia for a city I never knew?

We all have a weakness. And a major chunk of this world’s population feels that tug when someone mentions 4-3-3. Gets goosebumps when a sublime pass is made. There is a feeling of pleasure when an orb rolls on the grass as a result of conjuring a trick as much as intentionally executing the laws of the physical world. Football, one realizes is more than a game. Meet Footynions - born on the streets of Dubai. And their attempt to analyze issues and offer observations in this game of the world. Footynions offer their two cents (or a million dollars) worth of opinions of happenings in this magical world. One of them thinks it stands for little minions working to ensure this beautiful world remains joga bonito.
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