Ranjit Reminisces: Madness In Montevideo
Montevideo might be one of the more ‘tranquil‘ capitals in South America but it was a different story when I entered the Estadio Centenario where the first ever FIFA World Cup match took place in 1930. Indeed this inaugural World Cup also marked 100 years since Uruguay’s first constitution. It is possible that this stadium could be the venue of the 2030 FIFA World Cup final to mark the centenary year since the tournament’s inception.
On a friday afternoon I passed by the Estadio Centenario and its exteriors are ornately decorated in football depictions. As I walked towards the entrance, I am greeted by an elderly gentleman who appeared to be the stadium’s caretaker. He seemed to given the impression that the stadium was closed for viewing, however moments later an Argentine tourist approached and conversed with him with in Spanish, and suddenly he opened the doors to the stadium. I was taken through the dressing rooms that were in need of a spot of paint and I was surrounded by illustrations of all storied occasions in Uruguayan football history.
Thereafter I entered the pitch and it created the sensation that players must treasure as they cover every blade of grass. I had visions of iconic Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez running through on goal. It was then that I decided I must return to this classic stadium as referred to by FIFA.
The following day I attended a local derby league match between Wanderers and Nacional. Despite the stadium being largely bereft of spectators, this had no impact on the atmosphere whatsoever. If anything those present made up for those absent. I was sat with the Nacional fans and even after their side fell behind, they remained vociferous. One fan directly infront of me was plastered with Nacional tattoos on his back. Forget wearing your heart on your sleeve, these fans wear it on their skin!
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