RIO DE JANEIRO - The football pitches of Rio are communities within communities. Here, they can be sand-based or concrete. There are also grass and synthetic pitches. To access them, you have to pass unofficial controls on the edge of the favela and walk along narrow streets, between brick houses and tangled power cables. There is an apparent chaotic normality, with loud music constantly coming from the bars here.
On training days, however, the community put on the Nerazzurri colours, discovering order as they wear them. Whether on foot, by bike or by motorbike with their parents, the children, who are all wearing their Inter shirts, look to pass our car and arrive first to the football pitch. They seem to be little dots all converging towards a safe spot. That safe spot is the football pitch.
Here, you learn rules and have fun while playing. Conversations are had. For a few hours, everyone is committed to engaging in sport far away from the dangers on the streets. Not only do the children know this, but their parents do too, and they are always there with us for the future of their children. The youngsters never miss a training session.