They may not like it on the bronze beaches of Rio, in São Paulo’s office blocks and in the proud alehouses of Porto Alegre, but Brazilian football has a new epicentre. Since the turn of the year, Belo Horizonte has become the place to be on planet futebol.
First there was the reopening of the historic Mineirão stadium, the spiritual home of the game in the city, after World Cup renovation work that lasted the best part of three years. Without their usual home, Belo Horizonte’s big two – Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro – were forced to host matches in neighbouring towns Sete Lagoas and Uberlândia, with predictable consequences for attendance figures.
Atlético have latterly settled in América-MG’s cosy Independência ground, but Cruzeiro immediately reaped the rewards of returning to the Mineirão, embarking on a staggering run of form that saw them win 17 of their first 19 games of 2013.
Read the rest of this article on the WhoScored wesbite here.