The Football Museum

In 2014, the whole world had turned to the Brazilian National Team and its performance in the most important football championship, the World Cup. The Football Museum, supported by the Brazilian Football Reference Center (CRFB), had paid its homage to great characters of this sports trajectory.


The actions carried on by the CRFB include to research, identify and digitalize collections and make them public, among other activities. Our first honored person is Mário Américo. The exhibition tells some of this character's stories, remembered through his work gear, newspapers clippings and photos that now belong to his grandson, Mário Américo Netto.


Mário Américo was the Brazilian National Team masseur in the World Cups between 1950 and 1974. Some of the massuer's tasks are to accelerate the recovering proccess, relieve the fatigue and muscular and joint tensions of the athletes.

Not only due to his technical skills, Mário is one of the few characters that can be proud of closely following seven World Cups beside great stars, different coaches, countries and teams. He had witnessed the backstage of those championships, and was confidant of athletes and a hilarious character in the world of football.

Mário was born in July 28 1912, in Monte Santo, Minas Gerais. Fatherless, he became a runaway at eight, fleeing by train from the farm his family worked. In October, 1920, he reached São Paulo alone, where he had worked as a shoeshine boy for two years. Later, he found in São Paulo his cousin, Walter Melquíades, who took him to live at Bexiga neighborhood and offered him a job as a mechanic. at the Santo Antônio workshop.

"Little black Mário", as he was known, started to receive drum classes by the musician João Lombriga and then has joined some orchestras as a teenager. The artistic carrier ended eary, for he was forced to leave the group due to the notice gave by the Juvenile Court as he was found playing at late nights.

Just after his brief artistical carrier, Mário Américo found a new passion: boxing. At the academy, located at the Ladeira da Memória street, in São Paulo's downtown, Mário was trained by the Argentinian coach Aristides Jofre and fought some matches in Rio de Janeiro as a lightweight In love with Rio, he moved to Madureira with his newly wife Maria de Souza, mother of his first two children: Vera Lúcia and Mário César. The carrier as a boxeur lasted for ten years, with memorable knockouts. Mário, however, was knockouted by Antônio Mesquita. The bloody fight approached Mário and Almir do Amaral, a boxing fan and physician of Madureira Esporte Clube . The friend advised the "hot head" Mário to change his carrier.


At Madureira

The new professional enterprise made Mário promisse himself that he would become the best football masseur ever.

He had learned his first techniques with Giovani, masseur of Madureira team, who was about to retire.

He had bought books, consulted with other professional masseurs and in less than a year he was in charge of the club's Masseur post.

At the club, Mário met at the trials Jair da Rosa Pinto who later would join the legendary trio with Isaías and Lelé: "The Three Stoges".

Jair suffered from a cronic muscle sprain in his right thigh and so his massages were intensified and adapted to every type of field, weather and marking defender.

Mário Américo has learned about anatomy and physilogy with the physicians Ségio Blumer (from the Sport Club Corinthians Paulista and Nilton de Paes Barreto.

Major Rolim allowed the new masseur to attend faculty classes in exchange of boxing lessons to the teachers.

At Vasco da Gama

During the 1940s, he joined Vasco da Gama. At São Janupario stadium, he was close to the routine of the major clubs from Rio: dealt with directors, managers, doctors, seasoned players, rookies, black magic, furious wives and, whenever necessary, he would fix an umbrella to earn some extra month at the end of the month.

At the time, the supporters were calling him "carrier-pigeon" as he carried messages from the coach Flávio Costa do the team, while they were faking injuries during the matches.

At Portuguesa de Deportos

The return to São Paulo happened in 1952, as a temporary plan of transition to Fluminense, which never happened. Mário Américo signed a two years contract with Portuguesa de Deposrtos, but stayed there until retirement, during the 1970s.

A comic episode
Mário, while still working at Vasco, at the final match of the Rio-São Paulo Tournment, assaulted the president of Portuguesa, Mário Augusto Isaías, without knowing who he was. Later, Mário made a public apologize statement in a radio show, and received an apologize telegram from the president himself.
World Cups
Mário worked closely to the most famous athletes and also those who never houtstanded in Brazilian Football. He spent long periods away from home, in preparation of players such as Heleno de Freitas, Nilton Santos, Belini, Didi, Pepe, Tostão, Zito, Feola, Djalma Santos, Jairzinho, Pelé and many others.
The Swedish speaking radio
There is a famous anedote with Mário and Garrincha. Garrincha bought a radio in Sweden, during the World Cup of 1958. Mário really wanted a radio for himself, and convinced the naive coleague that the new device would only speak Swedish. The masseur then offered to buy the equipament, paying a lot less than the price Garrincha had paid, just to "spare" him of the team's teasing.
Brazil's World Cup, 1950
Henrique Matteucci, author of "Mário Américo, o Massagista dos Reis", register that the masseur complaint about the excess of confinment and isolation of the team who played the fateful final of 1950's Cup. He has also criticized the harassment of the press, the politicians, supporters and family manbers at the team headquarters in the eve of the final against Uruguay. Mário told that, even before the match, some players were checking a list of businessmen who had already offered prizes for the "victory" that never happened.
1954 World Cup, Switzerland
Besides fearing the National Team of Hungary, undefeated for over seventy matches, Mário had witnessed an evolution of the football practice: before the match started, Hungarian players were doing gymnastics, running and jumping inside the locker room. They were teased in that World Cup but, months later, the same practice would be adopted by the Brazilian team as the very well known "stretching".
1958 World Cup, Sweden
Mário considered his fellow Paulo Machado de Carvalho the best leader that ever worked with Brazilian Teams. Although he was "bossy" and proud, in the words of the masseur, Paulo Machado was a real strategist when it came to organize the technical comission and players to a big championship, like the 1958 Cup.

At the final between Brazil and Sweden, Mário was in charge of stealing the ball from tha referee Maurice Guigue and swap it for the reserve ball. Thanks to Mário's deed, the ball is today in Brazilian territory,

Brazilian National Team training for the 1958 Cup.

1962 World Cup, Chile
Mário explained the second conquest of the World Cup to the maintenance of the same, yet more seasoned - athletes of 1958, This was the Cup of Garrincha and Aimoré Moreira, debuting as coach. The best technical comission of a Brazilian Team, according to the masseur.
1966 World Cup, U.K.
The team summoning was troubled with the choice of 45 players and, afterwards, the rushed dismiss of half of the group. This was the Cup when, besides the superstars, there was the presence of manly, sturdy and physically fit men, ready to receive strong blows. The strategy was adopted to face one of the most violent World Cups of the history. According to Mário, it was the season with the largest ammount of managers and sponsored fellows ever seen.

Without reaching the quarter-finals, Brasil came home early.

Mário tells that, even before the technical staff disembark in Rio de Janeiro, most managers had left along the way, scaping from accounting for the amount of money spent of the excessive luggage.

Mário Américo was famous for his charisma and courtesy, even with children.

1970 World Cup, Mexico
According to "uncle" Mário - the nickname he then received from the players - the Mexican supporters were the warmest ones. They root all the time for the Brazilian team and, in the match against Uruguay, remembering the 1950's final, the supporters brought posters cheering the Brazilian Team. The third championship in a row was celebrated as a carnival abroad, with a lot of fun covered in water and flour.

After the conquest in Mexico, each member of the Brazilian delegation was granted with a permission to open a lottery house.

Grant receipt of the 1970's Cup, paid to Mário Américo.

Rivelino and Mário Américo, 1970

souvenir brought from the 1970 Cup, signed by the Brazilian Team

Silver plate offered as a token to Mário Américo by Portuguesa de Desportos, after the 1970 World Cup's conquest, in Mexico

1974 World Cup, Germany
Cold was the biggest enemy at this championship. Mário never worked as much as in that World Cup. Any blow meant intense pain in the athlete's body. It was a mixture of a lot of tension and instability among the team members, especially when it came to the choice betwwen players from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.


After the third World Cup conquest, Mário became famous amongst other professionals. With the aid of the coleague and physiotherapist Dieter Hochmuth, he had launched in Germany the massage cream Amazonas, as well as a adapted bag to carry first aid equipments within the field.

Amazonas German massage cream advertise.

German advertise of sport gear.

Mário Américo attending Clodoaldo's tratment, 1974. In the back, Valdomiro.

Mário Américo passport stamps tell us that he had being in many far-away countries, all over the world.

The world does not fit in cups
Mários collection of over 3 thousand cups, brought from different cities, help us to tell his professional and geographi trajectory,
White Wing: a Brazilian Dream
In 1981, Mário Américo and Garrincha acted together with Edson Celulari at the filme Asa Branca, from the director Djalma Limongi Batista. The film tells the story of a football player, from the beginning of his carrier in a small ountryside town until the triumph in a World Cup.

Mário with actor Edson Celulari at the backstages of the set of Asa Branca: A Brazilian Dream.

Mário at Programa J. Silvestre, at TV Bandeirantes channel.

CDC Copa 70
The 1970 Team was Mário's favorite. To pay his homage, he named the Community Sport Club (CDC) - public spaces, managed by associations and overviewed by the City Hall - he founded in São Paulo north area, while he was a city councilman, as "Copa 70". The "copa 70" host several sport activities, besides the amateur clubs with teams like Grone's and Antrax.

2014 Carnival Theme of Banda Grone's, paying homage to Mário Américo.

Association IDs where Mário Américo was a member.


Mário ended his football carrier in 1976, under some pressure of the Brazilian Sports Federation (CB), today called Brazilian Soccer Federation (CBF).

Vote for Mário Américo
In 1976, Mário ran for the city council in São Paulo by the Movimento Democrático Brasileiro, receiving aroung 53 thousand votes. The end of his term also ended his brief political carrier, for which he said he was not fit. During this time, he continued to treat athelets and common patients at the Physiotherapy Institute, at Imirim neighborhood, in the north area of São Paulo

Mário Américo's handout as running for the cityhall.

Mário as city councilor in São Paulo City Hall.

Football Family
After his first wife passed, in 1966, Mário got married to Maria Hilda Rocha, known as Iara, mother of his third child, Mário Américo Júnior. The "uncle" was also a kind of shrink and "daddy" of players along three decades of services to the Brazilian Technical Staff.

With the comings and goings of so many stars, Mário staied there, ready to treat anyone with a smile on his face.

Mário Américo was deceased in April 09, 1990.

Telegram from the player Zico, sent to Mário Américo's family after he passed.

Credits: Story

Original Version - 2014

Curatorship: Content work group from Football Museum

Collection's owner: Mário Américo Neto

Digitalizing: Rogério Alonso

Research and Texts Aira Bonfim

Google Edition: Aira Bonfim, Bruna Gottardo AND Pedro Sant'Anna

Text reviewer and translator: Tikinet

Video editor: Bruna Gottardo

Reviewed Version - 2018

Coordination: Camila Aderaldo
Adaptation, google edition and translation: Ana Letícia de Fiori

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.