My Visit to the Birthplace Of The World Cup: Museo Del Futbol, Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay

uruguay montevideo estadio centenario

My visit to Estadio Centenario, birthplace of the FIFA World Cup in Montevideo, Uruguay.

As a football fan, you have to agree that the World Cup is the greatest international tournament in the world. For that very reason I was so excited to be visiting the Uruguayan capital city of Montevideo back in 2010. It had been a dream of mine to actually step foot inside Estadio Centenario. The place where “world football” all began, well at least as far as I’m concerned. Here is a report on my visit to the birthplace of the World Cup: Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay.

jonny blair in montevideo

Backpacking in Montevideo, Uruguay: at the parliament building. I ended up loving the place!!

As a backpacking Northern Irishman, I ended up prolonging my stay in Montevideo, studying Spanish in the downtown area near Plaza Independencia and living with a local family in the cool Parque Rodo neighbourhood. I made it to a few live football matches at this famous stadium and even wrote about how I longed for the chance to be there supporting Northern Ireland. It’s now February 2014 and it has just been announced that Northern Ireland will play Uruguay here in a warm up friendly match for the World Cup in the very stadium where the World Cup began!! I sadly can’t go – but I’m sure there will be fellow Northern Ireland fans there and so I don’t want you guys to miss out on seeing the football museum inside the stadium or the sights of the city so I’ll have a few more posts in retrospect on Montevideo and Uruguay in the next few months.

montevideo uruguay norn iron flag

Flying the Northern Ireland flag at one of the matches watching Penarol in Montevideo, Uruguay.

I’ll cover my trips to watch Penarol and Nacional (two of the biggest teams in Uruguay) in other posts, so for this article, I’ll focus on the actual Museo de Futbol – the Football Museum inside the stadium. Here’s an overview for you all, hope you enjoy my report!

estadio centenario uruguay

The walk down to Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, Uruguay.

How to get to the Museo de Futbol, Estadio Centenario, Uruguay

OK for me as a budget traveller it has to be either bus or walk to get to Estadio Centenario – you’ll remember how much I hate taxis – don’t do it please! I lived nearby for a while so I normally just walked it – 20 minute short and easy walk. I lived at Parque Rodo so I’d walk up to Tres Cruces and follow the Avenida Italia down to the ground. Estadio Centenario is in an area called Parque Batlle. Locals know the place inside out anyway – just mention Estadio Centenario to anyone and they know it! It’s a football mad city and country. Have a look on this map and you’ll see it’s not hard to find:

estadio centenario map uruguay

How to get to Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay.

As for buses, I also got the number 64 from Avenida 18 de Julio, near Plaza Independencia, and there are even more local routes that drop you at the stadium, or even at nearby Tres Cruces, from there you can walk down. On matchdays the bus routes are obviously more busy.

bus to stadium montevideo

The Bus to Estadio Centenario from Avenida 18 de Julio in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Opening Hours of the Museo de Futbol, Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay

You will definitely need to check closer to the time you go, as the opening hours do change. On Saturdays and Sundays and on matchdays, it’s normally closed, so it’s a Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm opening time normally. Just make sure you double check once you get to Montevideo.

museo del futbol

Entrance to the Museo Del Futbol – took this photo on a matchday – it was closed!

How much does entrance to the museum cost?

OK so I was there in 2010 and it cost me 80 Uruguayan Pesos, so about $3.80 US Dollars back then. These days it’s rumoured to cost 100 Uruguayan Pesos, which is now about $4.5 US Dollars. Prices will vary of course, but don’t worry too much. As a football crazy fan, the entrance fee was simply not on my mind. My budget backpacking brain does go out the window when it comes to unforgettable experiences every now and then!

museo del futbol montevideo

Outside the Museo del Futbol, Estadio Centenario, Uruguay.

As a bonus, your entry ticket is done as a mock of an actual match ticket for a match in the 1930 World Cup so a souvenir for sure! One for the collection!

entry ticket for world cup museum montevideo uruguay

Your entry ticket is a mock of a ticket for the 1930 World Cup! Amazing!

Inside the Museo Del Futbol, Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay

Once inside, make sure you take the time to walk around at your leisure and enjoy the place. There are signed shirts, trophys, old shirts, old programmes, paintings, posters, stamps etc. A feast for a football fan and photos are permitted throughout. I got snap happy – here are some photos from inside the museum…with short captions.

football first world cup final

Posing by the football used in the First World Cup Final in 1930 and a modern day football too!

world cup final 1930 ball

The actual match ball from the first ever World Cup Final!!

trophy room estadio centenario

One of the trophy rooms inside the museum.

fifa teams montevideo

Teams in FIFA – had to photograph the mention of Irlanda del Norte – Northern Ireland – my wee country.

Art in the Football Museum in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Art in the Football Museum in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Walking up the steps into the stadium (not the players entrance to the pitch by the way...

Walking up the steps into the stadium (not the players entrance to the pitch by the way…

Some of the many trophies in the countless cabinets. Uruguay have won a lot.

Some of the many trophies in the countless cabinets. Uruguay have won a lot.

Taking home a trophy for Glentoran FC.

Taking home a trophy for Glentoran FC.

A cool bit of art on a Uruguay Shirt.

A cool bit of art on a Uruguay Shirt.

Poster for the first World Cup in Uruguay, which Uruguay won.

Poster for the first World Cup in Uruguay, which Uruguay won.

Poster for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, which Uruguay won.

Poster for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, which Uruguay won.

A letter than proves Defensor Sporting from Montevideo are the oldest football club in South America.

A letter than proves Defensor Sporting from Montevideo are the oldest football club in South America.

Signed Pele shirts.

Signed Pele shirts.

Ireland North appears again on the listings for a youth tournament.

Ireland North appears again on the listings for a youth tournament.

A shirt worn by a Uruguayan in the 1950 World Cup final when they beat Brazil 2-1.

A shirt worn by a Uruguayan in the 1950 World Cup final when they beat Brazil 2-1.

A replica of the 1930 World Cup. The real one melted.

A replica of the 1930 World Cup. The real one melted.

By a replica of the 1950 Jules Rimet trophy.

By a replica of the 1950 Jules Rimet trophy.

Doing the Maradona.

Doing the Maradona.

Doing the Pele.

Doing the Pele.

Signed Diego Forlan shirts.

Signed Diego Forlan shirts.

uruguay flag museo

Painting with the Uruguay flag.

Mock boardroom from back in the day.

Mock boardroom from back in the day.

World Cup stamps collection.

World Cup stamps collection.

Inside the Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay

Inside the museum, you walk up the steps and out into the stadium itself, which I did of course. It was nice to experience the stadium empty and full to contrast the atmosphere change. These are my photos from the stadium tour itself, from the stands looking all around.

Inside the Estadio Centenario on a non matchday.

Inside the Estadio Centenario on a non matchday.

Inside the Estadio Centenario on a non matchday.

Inside the Estadio Centenario on a non matchday.

Inside the Estadio Centenario on a non matchday.

Inside the Estadio Centenario on a non matchday.

Flying the Northern Ireland flag inside Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay.

Flying the Northern Ireland flag inside Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay.

There is also a 1930 World Cup winning marker in the stand, and that famous tower that has been around forever and is almost the emblem of the stadium – an easy way to recognise the stadium from walking in the streets nearby.

1930 World Cup winning marker inside the stand.

1930 World Cup winning marker inside the stand.

Famous tower in the stand.

Famous tower in the stand.

Is the Original Jules Rimet Trophy here?

No, it was sadly stolen and melted in Brazil after Brazil clinched the title for the third time in 1970. They won it in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and got to keep the original Jules Rimet Trophy. Incidentally, Uruguay won the World Cup in 1930 and 1950, but never made it the hat-trick to clinch the trophy, so they’re back to zero again in their attempts to claim the current trophy. Admittedly in 2010 they were one of the best teams and could perhaps have won it on a better day. To make up for that, there are TWO replica Jules Rimet trophies – in separate cabinets – one for 1930 and one for 1950.

A replica of the 1930 World Cup. The real one was stolen and melted.

A replica of the 1930 World Cup. The real one was stolen and melted.

Outside the Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay

If you are an even tighter cheapskate traveller than me and you don’t want to pay the entrance fee to the museum or go to a match, you can walk around the outside of the stadium and will find some monuments and plaques, here are a few of them. This is obviously free to do…

World Cup winners memorial celebrating 1930 and 1950 World Cup wins for Uruguay.

World Cup winners memorial celebrating 1930 and 1950 World Cup wins for Uruguay.

The 4 Plaques outside the stadium celebrating the 4 World Champions wins (2 World Cups and 2 Olympics):

Plaque celebrating the 1928 Olympics win in Amsterdam.

Plaque celebrating the 1928 Olympics win in Amsterdam.

Plaque celebrating the 1950 World Cup win in the Maracana v. Brazil.

Plaque celebrating the 1950 World Cup win in the Maracana v. Brazil.

Plaque celebrating the 1930 World Cup win in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Plaque celebrating the 1930 World Cup win in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Plaque celebrating the 1924 Olympics win in Colombes.

Plaque celebrating the 1924 Olympics win in Colombes.

Uruguay have been deliberately biased in their display of World Champions, as they claim to be World Champions FOUR times, having won the Olympic Football event twice in the 1920s before the official World Cup began. They have separate plaques for each and they also include these wins on their football monument alongside their genuine World Cup wins of 1930 and 1950.

Footprint of Ghigia who was the hero for Uruguay in their amazing 2-1 World Cup Final win against Brazil in the Maracana in 1950.

Footprint of Ghigia who was the hero for Uruguay in their amazing 2-1 World Cup Final win against Brazil in the Maracana in 1950.

3 of the first 4 World Football Tournaments were won by Uruguay - even though 2 of them were olympics.

3 of the first 4 World Football Tournaments were won by Uruguay – even though 2 of them were olympics.

There are no records after 1990, nor will there ever be, as in 1994 Brazil levelled with Uruguay on 4 World Tournaments and the Uruguayans can't bring themselves to etch the 1994 winners on the next blank stone!

There are no records after 1990, nor will there ever be, as in 1994 Brazil levelled with Uruguay on 4 World Tournaments and the Uruguayans can’t bring themselves to etch the 1994 winners on the next blank stone!

What’s even more biased and quite funny is that after 1990 (when West Germany won the World Cup), the Uruguyans refuse to list any more World Champions. The reason for this is that Brazil won the World Cup in 1994 and the Uruguayans are still bitter about that and the fact that Brazil have won the World Cup 5 times now, which, even counting Uruguay’s 4 Olympics wins is 1 ahead of it. Italy are also on 4 victories, but this is also not documented on the blank tiles of this trophy. I guess if Uruguay win in 2014, they will add that though!

Me caught capturing the tower from the outside before a Penarol match.

Me caught capturing the tower from the outside before a Penarol match.

northern ireland beat uruguay 1-0 1990

1990 – Northern Ireland 1-0 Uruguay (Kevin Wilson). Belfast.

World Cup winners monument.

World Cup winners monument.

world cup monument montevideo

Jules Rimet trophy on top of the World Cup winners monument.

jonny blair in montevideo uruguay

Just the travelling Northern Irishman. British Champions you know…

What teams play here at Estadio Centenario?

The Uruguay National Team, and club teams Penarol and Nacional. I made it to a few Penarol matches and a Nacional Match.

Penarol at home to Defensor Sporting.

Penarol at home to Defensor Sporting.

Nacional at home to Las Ramplas.

Nacional at home to Las Ramplas.

A few photos from matchdays supporting Penarol

My first match in Uruguay was watching Penarol so I made them my team. I bought a hat and went three times, and also went to see their rival team Nacional fail to win the title!! Here are some photos from watching Penarol, a full report on one of the games is here:

Vamos Penarol

montevideo uruguay norn iron flag

Flying the Northern Ireland flag at one of the matches watching Penarol in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Ticket for Penarol - Olimpica end.

Ticket for Penarol – Olimpica end.

View from Olimpica end.

View from Olimpica end.

Flares in the hardcore Penarol end for the Defensor SPorting match.

Flares in the hardcore Penarol end for the Defensor Sporting match.

 

Wesley and I watching Penarol in the Colombes end.

Wesley and I watching Penarol in the Colombes end.

first world cup uruguay

My trip to Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, Uruguay – home of the first World Cup.

A few photos from the matchday I watched Nacional v. Las Ramplas:

I also managed to catch the epic final day of the season clash between Nacional and Las Ramplas. Nacional needed to win and hope that Defensor Sporting lost in order to win the league. Defensor were losing 1-0 at one point, but won 3-1 anyway.

At the Nacional match.

At the Nacional match.

Pre match beers down the pub.

Pre match beers down the pub.

Nacional v. Las Ramplas in the Estadio Centenario.

Nacional v. Las Ramplas in the Estadio Centenario.

Details of the Museo de Futbol, Eastadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay

Dirección: Estadio Centenario, tribuna Olímpica Av. Ricaldoni.

Tel: (0598 2) 480.12.59

Horarios: De lunes a viernes de 10 a 17 horas.

Links – 

Museum Site

Estadio Centenario Site

Here are some of my videos from my trips to Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay:

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