The balls from Ipanema
© AFP

As football’s glitterati converge on Zurich for the FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony, another side of the game - equally important, and just as attractive - has been captured in Rio de Janeiro.

Indeed, while Pele, Amarildo, Carlos Alberto, Bebeto, Cafu and Ronaldo prepare to represent Brazil’s FIFA World Cup™ winners in Switzerland, all would surely enjoy this image from home, of their fellow countrymen indulging football’s simple pleasures.

Footballs are certainly everywhere to be seen in this photograph from Thursday of one of Brazil’s most legendary stretches of beach. And while Ipanema is perhaps best-known across the world for the lovesick bossa nova ballad, ‘The Girl from Ipanema’, the only adoration on show in this photograph is for the beautiful game.