On 25 December 1597, back when Brazil was a colony of the Portuguese crown, a group of Portuguese officials reached the Potengi River with the duty of reclaiming the captaincy of Rio Grande do Norte, which was then dominated by French buccaneers.
The top three teams in the state of Rio Grande do Norte are from Natal: Alecrim Futebol Clube and the city's two powerhouses and eternal rivals, America Futebol Clube and ABC Futebol Clube. Both teams have shared the vast majority of trophies of the Campeonato Potiguar (‘Potiguar' being one who comes from Rio Grande do Norte) and were regulars in the Campeonato Brasileiro's elite until the mid-1980s. ABC have not competed in the top tier since, meanwhile América have had their share of successful spurts and even won the regional title of the North-East Cup in 1998.
Ever since it was inaugurated back in 1972, the Estadio Joao Claudio de Vasconcelos Machado – better known as the Machadão – has welcomed the biggest clashes in Natal football to the Lagoa Nova neighbourhood.