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Marcos Vampeta of the Corinthians and the national team inaugurated the newest cinema in Brazil last Friday. Vampeta was responsible for the latest cultural development in the city of Nazare das Farinhas (Bahia) – the reopening of the Cine Rio Branco, where he was born. The cinema originally opened in 1925 and has been totally modernised by the football star.

But what motivated the footballer to assume this cultural responsibility. According to him, he resolved to take on the challenge when he revisited the his native city.

“I was playing in PSV Eindhoven in Holland in 1997. We had a great team and most of the team members also represented their respective countries. Coach **** Advocaat allowed me a week off during one week to take a holiday in Brazil as I would have been almost alone in Europe as most other players had been called up by their national sides”

Vampeta was enjoying his week off when he was approached by a friend Uriel, who asked him if he would help fix the roof of the dilapidated local cinema.

Uriel asked me for 20 reais ( US$12) as the place was in such an awful state and the roof threatened to cave in. When I went to see the cinema I saw for myself the deplorable state it was in and decided on the spot to assume the responsibility of putting it back into useable conditions”

And to the surprise of the 25,000 local inhabitants of Nazare das Farinhas in the interior of Bahia, Vampeta offered to buy the cinema for 80,000 reais (US$42,000) and restore it. His only condition was that someone in the city took charge of the work to be carried out, as he was away in Holland for most of the year and not concern himself with the day-day running of the restoration work.

“I invested more than 350,000 reais (US$200,000) from my own pocket. And it was more than worth it to see the cinema back in its original splendour. It a 75-year old building and I could not bear to see it simply fall into ruins. Now the children of my home town can go to the movies again”

Local politicians and the state governor were all on hand at the opening ceremony. Vampeta was given a solemn promise that the restored building would be listed by the state. It really is a jewel and especially pertinent as it was given to the town by someone using his own hard-earned money with no aspiration to make a profit from the enterprise in the future – it was one of those rare gestures from someone in a position to help the citizens of his birthplace
 

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this is a nice story. it's good to read that these rich and famous players do not forget where they came from and can return to their hometowns to help. good for vampeta!
 
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