Football in Recife
Pernambuco has three teams with traditions in the Brazilian championships; except for Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, no other State in Brazil has such a large presence.
The three most important teams based in Recife are:
Sport Club Recife
Known as Sport. Being the team of masses (like Flamengo is in Rio and Corinthians in Sao Paulo), Sport is the team with the largest number of supporters. In 1987, it was declared Brazilian national champion, in a controversial decision (Sport was the winner of a tournament which was disputed by a selection of weaker Brazilian teams; Flamengo won another tournament, disputed by the most famous teams; there should be a play-off between Sport and Flamengo, but the latter refused; Sport was, then, officialy considered the Champion of 1987 - there is a reference to that at the Sport's stadium - but many other teams, including of course the ones from Recife, never accepted the decision).
Known as Santa, or "tricolor" (three colors). Disputes the position of second most popular team (by number of fans). Never won a national championship, but some famous players started their careers here (the most famous of all was Rivaldo, who played with the Brazilian team in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups).
Originally a club of nautical sports, this is still the preferred team of the upper classes.
Either Sport, Santa Cruz or Nautico have won the Pernambuco State league for the past 50 years; Nautico was the 2004 champion. Sport won 34 times, Santa 23 and Nautico 21. This equilibrium has created a huge rivalry among the fans; debates about football are usually very passional, and the victories celebrations are always noisy.
for the complete list of all champions. Visit also the website of the
Pernambuco's Football Federation
for more History, statistics and updated information about football in Pernambuco.
It's interesting to notice that Recife is home for "the worst football team in the world". The team is called Ibis (there is no official website, but admirers have setup pages like
this one), and became famous a few years ago for having incrediby bad campaigns (one occasion, there were nine defeats in a row, and 23 matches without a single winning); the directors and fans are proud of the fame of the team, and get upset when the team manages to win a match.