9 Magical Maracana Moments

The historic Maracanā Stadium will play an important part in the upcoming Rio Olympic Games.

Originally built for the 1950 FIFA World Cup, the stadium will host the Opening and Closing ceremonies, along with the men and women’s football finals. Over the years, many significant moments have occurred at the stadium. Here are nine:

1950 FIFA World Cup


The Maracanã officially opened on June 16, 1950, with a friendly between the Rio de Janeiro All-Stars and São Paulo All-Stars. Eight days later, the World Cup began with a match between Brazil and Mexico. On July 16, 1950, a crowd of 200 000 people watched the final game between Uruguay and Brazil.  Uruguay shocked Brazil with a 2-1 win.

The Maracana hosted the World Cup final again in 2014 where Germany lifted the trophy by winning 1-0 over Argentina.

Pelé’s 1000th Goal

Brazil’s soccer star Pele kicks the ball over his head during a game in Sept. 1968, location unknown.  He went on to score 1,284 before retiring in 1977. (AP Photo/File)

On November 19, 1969, Brazilian football icon Pelé scored his 1000th goal with a penalty kick in a game against Vasco da Gama.

Maracanã 30th Anniversary


To celebrate the stadium’s 30th year, Frank Sinatra performed to an audience of 180 000.

Volleyball Matches

Soccer isn’t the only sport that has taken place at the Maracanã. In 1980 and 1983, volleyball matches were held between Brazil and the USSR, to a crowd of 95 000.


The band performed to their largest audience record of 137 000 on June 18, 1983.  This was also one of the last shows they performed in their signature makeup until 1996.

Tina Turner Sets a Record

In January 1988, Tina Turner earned a Guinness World Record for largest audience for a female artist with a crowd of approximately 188 000.

Zico Reaches the Top

FILE.- Brazilian soccer players Socrates, left, and Zico, watch their teammates playing a friendly match against some local players on a ground near Azteca Stadium, Mexico City on May 18, 1986. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, file)

Former footballer Zico holds the record as top scorer in the Maracanã stadium. He reached this achievement in 1989 during his tenure with Flamengo in a game against Botafogo.

Paul McCartney Also Sets a Record

During 1990, Paul McCartney gained a Guinness World Record for largest attendance for a male artist with an audience of over 180 000.

2007 Pan Am Games Ceremonies

Dancers perform during the closing ceremony of the XV Pan American Games at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Andrew Vaughan)

The opening and closing ceremonies of the 2007 Pan Am Games were held at the Maracanã stadium.