The number one question when someone meets a belo-horizontino is often the same: Atletico Mineiro or Cruzeiro? The city is in love with football and lives under a constant atmosphere of rivalry between two of the top contenders in Brazilian football: Clube Atlético Mineiro, the Galo (Rooster), and Cruzeiro Esporte Clube, also known as the Raposa (Fox). América Futebol Clube, the Coelho (Rabbit), is also a traditional state rival and has had its successful surges over the years.
Atlético Mineiro was the winner of the maiden edition of the Campeonato Brasileiro in 1971, and has been graced by the talents of Reinaldo, Toninho Cerezo and Eder, among others, while Cruzeiro's silverware collection goes from one Brasileiro in 2003 to four Copa do Brasil titles, two Copa Libertadores crowns (1976 and 1997). The Raposa were the first stage in the career of such big names as Tostao and Ronaldo.
The ultimate stage for the Atlético vs. Cruzeiro derbies and for the big matches held in the state of Minas Gerais is Governor Magalhaes Pinto stadium, famously known as the Mineirão; a 72,000-seater that has once housed over 100,000 fans and is one of the best and most charismatic football grounds in Brazil that has gone through modernisation work to turn it into a comfortable 58,000-seater.