It is undeniable that all over the world, when asked which is the country of soccer, most people will have Brazil as an answer. Over the years, the country could accomplish more than any other, including 5 World Cup titles and a rich history filled with historical players. However, there is much more to soccer in this South American country than the sport by itself.
A country that provided the world many historic players such as Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Romario naturally gathers fans worldwide. What is often unknown about all the above-mentioned players is their origin: the underprivileged communities in Brazil, the famous “favelas.”
The favelas are the birthplace of several historical players for a good reason. In such detrimental social conditions, thousands of children are involved in drug trafficking and crime from an early age. Soccer has always been the main form of escape and recreation for those kids and, as a result, the only way of getting taken out of crime. Annually, several social projects are responsible for rescuing kids from drug trafficking, using soccer as their primary tool for success. Shelter, social interaction, human bonding, and teachings about values are offered to those desperate kids who face the reality of a third-world country.
The relationship of those kids with the favelas are life-lasting. A famous example of that is the famous former soccer player Adriano. Adriano has played for some of the world’s greatest soccer teams, such as Inter Milan, Flamengo, Rome, and Sao Paulo. However, his bond with the favelas has never ended. Adriano grew up in a detrimental social and psychological environment, having a short career as a result; Adriano could never settle down in his teams despite his immense talent due to psychological trauma and depression and ended up in the favelas again.
Happily, Adriano’s story is not the same for every child rescued from crime in Brazil. When visiting the social projects in the favelas, there are endless stories of kids who overcame their tragic lives through the sport’s practice. They not only provide peace and relief for those kids and their families but also save their lives.