Posted: 11/26/2011


         It is noon at the oldest football stadium in Brazil, and its the last training session of the week for the first team squad of Fluminense, prior to their top of the table clash with local city rivals Vasco da Gama on Sunday. Estadio das Loranjeiras is in a neighbourhood of the same name and  hosted the first ever Brazilian national team match. The Selecaos beat visitors Exeter City 3-0.

        I am introduced to the brother of a hero of this great club, and we are standing in front of a statue of that hero CASTILHO and I have a tale to tell you, and of a human sacrifice, if only a small one.!! Carlos Jose Castilho was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1927 and played for the club from 1947 until 1964. 696 matches and 255 shut outs. They nicknamed him Saint Castillo and Leiteria ( Lucky Man). He had incredible saves but they say he was also lucky with many shots hitting the posts.

       He injured his little finger and they told him he couldnīt play again, so HE AMPUTATED HIS FINGER and was back in goal two weeks later !!! He was on the Brazilian squad in Four World Cups, in 1950, 1954 1958 and 1962 although he only played in 3 of those matches, all in 1954 in Switzerland. The statue, or bust of our hero, shows the missing digit.

       Estadio das Laranjeiro is in a pretty neighborhood on Pinheiro Macahdo street and is restricted to 8,000 now so they play in the Estadio Olympico Joao Havelenge while Maracana is being renovated for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. On Sunday I will watch them in a packed stadium. They are nicknamed the TRICOLORS after their distinctive jerseys of green, white and carmine stripes.  Their biggest rivalry is with Flamengo, Brazilīs most popular club and the FLA-FLU derby is world famous.  in 1974 this derby drew a record 194,000 fans to Maracana, a Brazilian club record. The club offices and shop are at the small stadium.

       In 1914 Carlos Alberto, a mulatto, put white powder on his face and body because of the colour bar. They called him Po de Arroz (white powder). It was not until the 1950īs that the club began to accept black players.  some former stars of Tricolor include Ademir, Carlos Alberto Torres, Denilson, Didi, Gerson, Rivelino, Tele Santana, Washington, Felix.....

       The club also has 15 other sports sections and at the 1920 Olympic Games, Brazil won its first ever Olympic medal, for shooting, and Alfredo Costa was a member of Fluminense.

       This story does not have a happy ending. On February 2, 1987 Castilho committed suicide.