Twenty Brazilian students from the University of Coimbra gathered in a pub in the city late on Wednesday (23). Flamengo's 5-0 win over Grêmio, which secured a place in the Libertadores final, started at 1h30 on Thursday (24) in Portugal. There were two gremistas, two colorados, and at least fifteen reds.
It seems to be because of Jorge Jesus, but in this case, it is not. Arthur Almeida Aguirre has lived in Oliveira de Azeméis, in northern Portugal, for six months. He has studied law in Coimbra for two years.
As much as the Flamengo coach has spread the passion for red and black colors in Europe too, Arthur was born in Rio de Janeiro. According to him, the meeting at the pub brought together people from Paraná, Santa Catarina, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul and São Paulo.
In Brazil on Wednesday, the fever was high at the airports. Of the total of 63,409 people in Maracanã, 13,000 red-blacks came from outside Rio (20%). This is the same percentage that is calculated from foreigners in matches of Barcelona and Real Madrid by the Spanish league or Champions League.
It's not just about passion for the club. "We are very happy to redeem the pride and hope of tens of millions of people. I think more than that, Flamengo is showing Brazil that we can play beautiful, high-quality football here, leaving nothing behind the big stages in the world," said President Rodolfo Landim.
The strategy involves adopting an aggressive style of play, which ran into the choice of coach. "It's not foreign, European, or Martian ... You have to have the club's philosophy," says Bruno Spindel, who shares Marcos Braz's direction with football. Who discovered Jorge Jesus, hired in June? "I will not go into that merit. It was Flamengo, " he replied.
Of the global clubs of the past 30 years, two have shared a strategy of playing at the highest quality to captivate fans around the world: Milan and Barcelona. If they played badly, they would not be global, even if Real Madrid and Manchester United do not have the same commitment.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon