Flamengo is the most famous Brazilian football club, with 30 million supporters among 210 million inhabitants. The team’s name originates from the Flamengo neighbourhood, one of the oldest in Rio de Janeiro. It refers to the language spoken in Flanders in the Netherlands, from where invaders had departed for Brazil in the past. Despite the huge popularity of Flamengo – the club of icons such as Zico, Júnior, Romário, Adriano and Ronaldinho – there is only one other place in the country named Flamengo.
The district of Flamengo, a small village in Ceará, one of the Brazilian states, is named after the team from the city of Rio de Janeiro, located more than 1,500 miles away. It was chosen by the first resident who arrived at the site in the 1930s.
At the time, Flamengo was only four decades old but it was already the main club of the then capital of Brazil. The team’s red-and-black striped shirts were already recognised all over the country. In the hinterland of Ceará, the earth with a reddish tone colour caught residents’ attention. Thus arose Flamengo.
People born in Flamengo are called Flamengoans (flamenguenses), and almost every Flamengoan is a flamenguista, a Flamengo fan. That becomes evident in the film “Here is Flamengo”, released in 2020. The documentary-maker travelled to Flamengo at an opportune moment: the final of 2019 Copa Libertadores, when Flamengo secured their second tournament title by defeating River Plate.
The short film, directed by Brazilian journalist Rafael Luis Azevedo and produced by Verminosos por Futebol website and Sinfonia Filmes company, portrays how football is a social phenomenon in Brazil. In a remote village founded in the country’s most arid region, with only 3,000 inhabitants, everything revolves around the passion for Flamengo.
The film “Here is Flamengo” is available on Prime Video or to buy from Amazon.co.uk.