Flamengo are without doubt a national institution.
As I have argued before in this space, this dates from a superb piece of marketing in the 1930s, when the club signed the three leading black players of the day - especially centre forward Leonidas da Silva, the Romario of his era. The club was thus able to rebrand itself; instead of being an elite association from Rio, they acquired the popular touch and became a national institution. Rio de Janeiro was still the capital at the time, and the glamorous new medium of radio carried Flamengo’s matches all over the land. A tradition was established – given a huge boost by the magnificent Zico side of the late 70s and 80s.