If we think about South American football, the same teams would come up to our minds – probably the most famous ones. Overshadowed by the biggest football nations like Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay has always shared their passion for football but has not garnered as much recognition as perhaps it deserves. But if there is a country you must visit if you want to experience the real history of football, that place is Uruguay.
Club Nacional de Football and Club Atlético Peñarol are the main two sides in Montevideo. In Uruguay, they represent almost the 80% of the national fan base. The Superclásico of Uruguay may not receive the coverage of some of South America’ other illustrious rivalries like Boca v River and Fla v Flu, but it is undoubtedly deserving of its place in the pantheon of the biggest derbies. So, when El Clásico is around the corner, you can imagine how passionate both fan bases are.
Next to Tres Cruces, the main station in Montevideo, the Estadio Centenario erects within the city center along with the National Football Museum. A few blocks from there, you can visit the stadium of Nacional, home of the first World Cup game ever in 1930. So if you love football, don’t miss out on any of those sacred locations!
But this time we are going to talk about Peñarol, the yellow and black striped team founded in 1891 by railway workers – this is where the colors come from. Originally named as Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club (CURCC), the fans are called Carboneros (coal miners) due to the element handled by the workers. Peñarol is one of the most successful teams in America, winning 5 times the Copa Libertadores and becoming World Champions three times. We are talking about a unique football team.
The Estadio Campeón del Siglo (Champion of the Century) is the main proof of it. This honour comes from when FIFA awarded Peñarol as the best South American team in the 20th Century. Built-in 2016 with a capacity of 40.000 spectators, it is located a little bit far from city center, so you have to go there with time!
Peñarol es mi obsesión
At Homefans we also want to encourage women to go on football trips and to experience how it feels to be at a game with local fans. Therefore, we managed to interview Verónica to tell us more about her passion for her local club. Peñarol.
As you can guess, Verónica is a long life Carbonero fan. Her passion to go to the stadium reflects how Uruguayan football is changing a bit in gender terms. She attends every single home game with her two daughters, Agustina (17) and Julieta (15) and the mate, that infusion which is the holy grail in Uruguay.
“To me, football is a special feeling. It’s something that I did since I was a child. The energy at the stadium is awesome; you feel that you’re part of the 12th man when Peñarol plays. It’s something unique that you must experience once in a lifetime.
In my opinion, I see that women are increasingly taking part in football in Uruguay, we are becoming an important component of the atmosphere in the stadium. There are a lot of female competitions in the country and you will see a lot of women at the Campeón del Siglo. I think that when you feel something deep down in you, gender doesn’t matter. You just love it, just as easy as it is. The passion for football and for your team is so vivid, that you basically go to watch football and you enjoy it every single time. I go with my daughters and they enjoy the game even more than me!
I invite everyone to come to Uruguay and experience a Peñarol game. 90 minutes of singing and supporting the team, being part of this unbelievable experience.”
In the vibrant, eclectic streets of Montevideo, the capital and centre of Uruguay, surrounded by enchanting classical buildings and a bustling industrial port which forms an integral part of Mercosur, the capital of Uruguay is an unusual setting for a legendary footballing rivalry, but the location adds so much character and energy to this game. In Montevideo, football is more than just a game. It’s an obsession, it’s a lifestyle.
¡Vamos Arriba Peñarol!”
Sometimes a single article just isn’t enough. On occasion, you need a whole series to experience the football cultures, the good the bad and the pioneering in football. That’s why we started our Original Series. From exploring the greatest derbies and cultural hotspots in the world of football to the local stories. Natxo will bring you some of the greatest stories to inspire you to explore football cultures around the world.
By Natxo Togu