Soccer-6,101 pieces of history: Brazilian owns world's largest shirt collection

Cassio Brandao, 41, holds a shirt worn by Pele in a room filled with clothes racks that in April 2024 made him become a Guinness World Records title holder as the owner of the world's largest collection of soccer shirts, in Sao Paulo, Brazil June 24, 2024. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian Cassio Brandao walks through rooms filled with clothes racks that in April made him a Guinness World Records title holder as the owner of the world's largest collection of soccer shirts.

From rare Pele jerseys to a 1998 World Cup shirt signed by Ronaldo, the 41-year-old Google employee has amassed a total 6,101 shirts since he started collecting them in 2000.

"They are more than just 6,101 pieces of fabric; they are 6,101 stories that help us tell a bit of the history of soccer," Brandao told Reuters as, wearing white gloves, he took out some of his favorite items.

He keeps his shirts at the office of a collectors club he founded in Sao Paulo, "Alambrado Soccer & Culture," bringing together 60 people who trade stories and jerseys - some worth up to 40,000 reais ($7,400).

Brandao's collection includes the shirt worn by Pele when the Brazilian player nicknamed "The King" met Britain's Queen Elizabeth in 1968. She was the guest of honor at a match at Rio de Janeiro's monumental Maracana stadium during an official visit to Brazil.

Pele is the star of the Alambrado office, which is decorated with signed shirts and framed pictures of the late soccer great, who died in December 2022.

"Some shirts can go up to 40,000 reais, but a Pele shirt is priceless," Brandao said.

He also displays a 1994 Brazil jacket worn by seven times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton at last year's Sao Paulo Grand Prix, when the British driver - an honorary Brazilian citizen - asked to borrow the outfit.

A large part of Brandao's collection is dedicated to his favorite club, local side Corinthians, including jerseys from Ronaldo's spell at the club and shirts worn by his favorite player Socrates.

"Each shirt contains a story," Brandao said. "Stories of wins, losses, and overcoming. Stories that document a bit of the world's greatest sport."

($1 = 5.4157 reais)

(Reporting by Leonardo Benassatto and Amanda Perobelli; Writing by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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