As the crowd filled the stands and the football players took the stage, the ones responsible for making all of this come true also had their moment in the spotlight. For more than two years, 5,000 workers have dedicated themselves to delivering to the people of Fortaleza the brand-new Estádio Castelão. And as a well-deserved gesture of appreciation, they will receive from FIFA two tickets for the first FIFA World Cup™ match to be played in the stadium.

“I am so proud for have given a contribution to this new and beautiful stadium. These tickets were a surprise for me and I am delighted that I will be here during the World Cup,” said Maria de Souza, who together with two other colleagues symbolically received a voucher for two tickets on behalf of all construction workers involved in the renovation.

“It was a perfect start for such a special day. More than working hard, the construction workers worked with a smile on their faces because they knew how big their role was in the success of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. They really earned these tickets and we are very happy to have found a way to thank them,” said FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.

The symbolic handover took place on Sunday, moments before the very first match at Arena Castelão, and was the first of 12 such handovers scheduled for all 2014 FIFA World Cup stadiums.

“Ronaldo and I were at several FIFA World Cup stadiums to remind the construction workers about the importance of labor safety. We were very impressed with their commitment to help delivering everything on time. We can say they are the first FIFA World Cup Brazil heroes,” stated Bebeto, member of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Board of Administration.

“Those tickets could not be in better hands. These are the men and women who played a key role in bringing to life the dreams of state-of-the-art stadiums, deserving of a nation which has won the FIFA World Cup five times,” added Ronaldo, who is also a member of the LOC Board of Administration.