Published: Monday June 2, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday June 2, 2014 MYT 12:26:29 PM

Football-mad cities

WHAT exactly is a “soccer city”?

Carina Caldeira, host of brand new Life Inspired TV series Soccer Cities defines a soccer city as one that has a huge football culture. “The city has to have two or three major (football) clubs, plenty of supporters, and, of course, star players who play or played on their own national team,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s an old player or a new player, it matters what they did for the club and the city.”

On Soccer Cities, Caldeira brings viewers to well-known football-mad cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Monaco, Istanbul, Amsterdam, and Porto to showcase the uniqueness of each city, and to show how football permeates every aspect of life in these cities.

Co-hosting each episode are some of the best players the beautiful game has seen, including Deco (Brazil/Portugal), Frank de Boer (The Netherlands), Bruno Alves (Portugal), Javier Pastore (Argentina), João Moutinho (Portugal), Jackson Martinez (Columbia).

According to Caldeira, before going to each city, she and her producer would find out about the restaurants, lifestyle, hotels, shopping areas, historical buildings, and landscape of the city.

“Later, we would talk with the player to get to know his favourite places and we then plan the show from there,” she said.

The series kicks off today with a city that will be the heart of football this year – Rio de Janeiro, in football-mad Brazil. There, Caldeira will be accompanied by former Porto FC, Chelsea and Barcelona player Deco.

The 37-year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder, whose real name is Anderson Luís de Souza, won three Portuguese league titles, one UEFA Cup, one Champions League and three Portugal Cup medals with FC Porto. Although he is Brazilian by birth, he became a nationalised Portuguese in 2002 and went on to play for his adopted country’s national team.

In today’s premiere episode, Deco brings Caldeira around the wonderful city of Rio, showing her the hidden gems of the city, including his favourite restaurant in a market near Barra da Tijuca, the sophisticated laziness of quarters like Santa Teresa or Lapa, and of course, the stunning beauty of Sugar Loaf Mountain.

Born in 1982 in Oporto, one of the most important cities in Portugal, Caldeira has been fond of sports since she was a child, especially football. Proclaiming herself a “huge football supporter”, Caldeira grew up in a football-mad environment. “I am like a boy when talking about football! I really enjoy the emotional part of the game. You can call me a fanatic!” she said.

Being such a big fan of the sport, it was a thrill for her to work with some of the best footballers in the world for the show.

According to Caldeira, working with all the footballers was a special experience, but the one who surprised her the most was former Porto defender Bruno Alves, who was her co-host on the Istanbul leg.

“Everyone usually thinks that Bruno Alves is a bad boy because on the field, he looks really aggressive. But when you get to know him, he has totally a different character,” she said. “He is a very down-to-earth, sensitive and patient kind of guy. I also had the opportunity to interview his wife – they are really in love and so sweet with each other. That really touched me.”

Soccer Cities airs every Monday at 11.30pm on Life Inspired (Astro Ch 728).

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment, Soccer Cities, Carina Caldeira, Life Inspired


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