Montevideo: The Overlooked City of Football

Connect in the back of the net

As I read through a script in the memoirs from the mind of the young and guiltless Ernesto Che Guevara, I come across him pondering over a thought as he takes in the scenic beauty of Machu Picchu in Peru:

How is it possible to feel nostalgia for a world I never knew?

Montevideo – a seaside city, the most populated in Uruguay, has a history of its own in the football realm. If history is any bit important in this domain that we live in, then the niche that keeps us entertained as we try to move on through this life should be significant as well. And it is.

The fact that all the games for the inaugural World Cup in 1930 were played in the city, has little to no exposure to the global footballing community. Prodigious stadiums in the form of Estádio do Maracanã (Brazil), Wembley (England), Estadio Azteca (Mexico) and La Bombanera (Argentina) exist in our minds, but have we heard of Estadio Centenario in Montevideo?

Listed as one of the classics by FIFA, similar to how UNESCO categorizes a heritage site, the stadium, which is still in use, was built in 9 months. Cities barely manage to get a stadium developed within 9 months with the modern infrastructure that currently exists today, so one can imagine the process in 1920’s.

Montevideo, at present, is a bustling city of 1.3 million people and has a beautiful combination between the old colonial feel and that of a city with a hustle of a modern city.

And the striking aspect of all this is that the city being smaller in density compared to the likes of London or Madrid is the home of 14 of the 16 domestic first division clubs in the Primera division of Uruguay. The big three being Peñarol, Nacional and Danubio. Iterating the fact again: 14 of the top division clubs in Uruguay come from Montevideo.

As my thought lingers away from the sport and all its innovativeness, I come back to wondering what if Che had managed to include this city in his pan South America trip. But for now as I read through all things Montevideo, a tweaked version of Che’s pondering thought comes to my mind.

How is it possible to feel nostalgia for a city I never knew?


Written by Shuaib Ahmed

Follow him on Twitter @footynions

Check out his excellent site, Footynions

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