Brave Brazilian girl dares to wear away jersey in home crowd at big Rio de Janeiro derby
One image from last Sunday's Rio de Janeiro derby between Fluminense and Flamengo -- otherwise known as "Fla-Flu" -- went viral in Brazil, but it did not come from the pitch. It's a curious image of a little girl in the stands of the Maracana stadium.
The young fan, Lais de Oliveira Nascimento, emerges from a sea of Flamengo supporters proudly wearing Fluminense colours as she sits on the shoulders of her grandfather -- who, by the way, is a Flamengo fan. It's certainly a striking image of a young girl in a rival's jersey surrounded by the home club fans in a country known to take its football rivalries very seriously.
The photograph was taken by Alexandre Cassiano, a photojournalist for O Globo, and shows the utmost respect and civility for a rival fan.
"It was all good in the Maracana today. It was beautiful. Everything went perfectly," Lais' grandfather Vanderlei Nascimento told ESPN Brasil. "There were a couple of other Fluminense fans there and we didn't have a single problem."
Divided allegiances run in the family. Lais' grandmother, Nelcimar Nascimiento, is a Flu fan, and has passed that on to her granddaughter. Lais' father, Leonardo, supports Flamengo. Mother Natalia follows Vasco da Gama, another one of Rio de Janeiro's big clubs.
"I am Flamengo and I love my team, but I'm okay with it. I even bought Lais a Fluminense jersey. I love my team, yes. But I love soccer too," Vanderlei said about his granddaughter. "Oh she loves soccer. She is really passionate about it. It was her first time and she adored it. She would come to every match if she could."
And what is next for Lais and her soccer allegiance? She must have noticed the youngsters entering the pitch with the players, because Lais wants to do that in the next Rio derby, which takes place on Wednesday. Her mother, by the way, posted an Instagram with that very message. Stay tuned.