30 Photos Of The Pickup Soccer Fields That Produce Brazil's Best Players

The Brazilian word for pickup soccer — “pelada” — means “naked” (specifically, a naked woman).

It’s soccer at its most basic. All over Brazil there are pickup games going on at all times, despite the constraints of space, equipment, and money.

This pickup soccer culture is often cited as an essential component in the Brazilian national team’s “joga bonito” style — which is the most flamboyant and improvisational in the world.

And many of the players who went on to become stars in Europe started on the makeshift fields of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Looking through these photos gives you the flavour of Brazil. Some of the fields are crammed in between buildings, some are cut out of the rainforest, and others sit right on the edge of the beach.

The Mare slums complex, one of the most violent areas of Rio de Janeiro, surrounds a field.

A 'quadra' -- a fenced-in field that have become more popular in recent decades -- in a favela in Rio de Janeiro.

An field with artificial turf overlooks Sugarloaf Mountain.

A boy watches a game in the Bom Pastor neighbourhood of Natal in northeastern Brazil.

A beach game the Brasilia Teimosa area of Recife, a coastal city of 3.7 million people.

Complexo do Alemao, an area of Rio de Janeiro occupied by police, surrounds a muddy pitch.

Playing in the rain.

A semi-organised game at the Vila Nova Project in Rio de Janeiro.

A field surrounded on four sides in the Itanhanga neighbourhood. of Rio de Janeiro.

The tide floods a field at the beach in Fortaleza.

The high-class Morumbi neighbourhood of Sao Paulo in the distance.

A basketball court serves as a makeshift soccer pitch in Cantagalo, Rio de Janeiro.

A dirty pitch on the outskirts of Sao Paulo.

Kids play on a field in Formiga, in Rio de Janeiro.

A field in shambles in the Cantagalo neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro.

The field is one of the only places with a working street light.

A dirt pitch in the city of Manaus, which is located 700 miles into the Amazon jungle.

A sandy pitch on the outskirts on Recife.

A pickup game in Recife from above.

A pitch cut out of the forest outside Recife.

A game in the Borel neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro.

Another Recife field, this one with the outline of a penalty box.

The Mare slums.

Vultures along an unused goal in Rio.

A favela in Rio de Janeiro.

A favela towers over a field in Borel, Rio de Janeiro.

Kids stage a penalty shootout in the Vila Cruzeiro favela of Rio de Janeiro.

Little kids play on a full-sized pitch in Rio.

A dirt field above Rio de Janeiro.

The Santa Marta Favela on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

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