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. The three leading teams in Natal, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte state, are ABC, Alecrim and America, who last appeared in Brazil’s top flight – Serie A – in 1985, 1986 and 2007 respectively.
However, in order for Natal to become one of the 12 Host Cities at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, a bigger and more modern venue was required. The solution settled upon was to completely demolish both the Machadão and the neighbouring Humberto Nesi sports hall, known as the Machadinho.
Rising up on the site is the Estadio das Dunas stadium project, with its name relating to the sand dunes that are one of the most impressive natural attractions in the Natal region. Nor do the similarities end there, with the stadium’s daring undulating structure designed to imitate said dunes. Its capacity will be 39,971.