This blog is named after Mario Filho, a Brazilian journalist for whom the famous Maracana stadium is named after.
Of course, Brazil’s national stadium (which will at this stage host both the opening game and final of the 2014 tournament) is better known by its name that is derived from the river that runs close by – but its official name pays tribute to a man that fought vigorously for the construction of a new national stadia for the 1950 World Cup, and made his name during the 30s and 40s as one of Brazil’s most influential journalists.
As Alex Bellos writes in his excellent history of Brazilian football, Futebol: The Brazillian Way of Life, Mario Filho “blurred the line between journalist, novelist and businessman. He wrote about football matches in epic terms, creating a romantic mythology of players, clubs and games.”
Oscar Mason Filho, a famous Brazilian director, is also similarly gushing in his praise of his like-named compatriot.
“He made Pele famous. Even the famous stadium at Maracena, in Rio de Janeiro, is named after Mario Filho as ‘Estadio Journalista Mario Filho’ in his honour. He brought people to the game in Brazil at a time when not many people were coming to watch football in early 1900s,” said Oscar Filho, whose film “Mario Filho: The Creator of Crowds“ reveals how the magic of journalists’ writing started pulling Brazilian crowds to football stadiums.
“Brazilian football is a mixture of the game, samba, capoeira (a famous Brazilian martial art). Mario Filhos’ writing captured the beauty of it. He told the footballing greats how exactly they played. He has documented the sublime Brazilian geniuses like Pele, Garrincha, to perfection. Something not many have been able to do.”