With the ball at his feet, football was not just a sport, but was transformed into art. And Manuel Francisco dos Santos aka Garrincha, was no ordinary artist. Pele, is probably the only other Brazilian, who comes close to matching Garrincha's popularity here.
A picture of Garrincha adorns the entrance of Brasilia's Entre Copas art gallery. Pic/Kashinath Bhattacharjee
So, it was not surprising to find an art gallery 'Entre Copas — Arte Brasileira 1950-2014' (art between the World Cups Brazil had hosted in 1950 and 2014) dominated by images of Garrincha. The exhibition is on display at the National Museum here in Brasilia from June 11 to July 27.
Garrincha is still considered to be the best, even better than Pele, by a section of Brazilians due to his breathtaking skills.
And, memories of the unforgettable playmaker — who won the 1962 World Cup almost on his own for Brazil — claiming the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot, are celebrated in this city of architecture with an art gallery dedicated to the Angel from Pau Grande (his birthplace).
Garrincha's huge images are visible from a distance, attracting tourists, who are here to enjoy the World Cup. Even the younger generation of Brazilians are enthusiastic about paying a visit to the gallery.
On a Sunday morning, the art gallery got as many visitors as did the world famous Cathedral Metropolitana de Brasilia designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer. The cathedral is the most visited tourist spot in the capital city of Brasilia.