A lifetime football fan, Edigard Weimar remembers the first time he was able to watch a FIFA World Cup match inside a stadium. It was in Belo Horizonte’s Estadio Mineirão in 2014, the same year that Brazil hosted the prestigious tournament. It was an unforgettable experience that allowed Edigard to take more than just memories back home with him.

With the 2018 FIFA World Cup currently underway in Russia, Edigard watches all the matches on a TV nestled between his collection of Coca-Cola football memorabilia. His impressive collection includes a plethora ofitems, ranging from cups, bottles, and cans, to caps and balls. Covering nearly every corner of the Mineiro native’s home, the gifts were all launched by Coca-Cola over the years to celebrate the world’s biggest sporting event.

Edigard’s penchant for collecting Coca-Cola merchandise has made him somewhat of a local icon. His ever-growing collection makes it difficult to find someone in Barbacena’s Santo Antônio neighborhood who doesn't know him. The sheer setup of his house, where he lives with his wife, Denise, and their three-month-old son, leaves no question about his passion for Coca-Cola or football.

His Coca-Cola shrine stands at the main entrance near his living room, a premeditated decision that was made before even moving into the house four years ago. When asked about the size of his collection, Edigard shrugs.

“There are around 300 pieces,” he says.

But it is not just about the numbers. “There is much more to it than that,” Edigard adds.

The history of Edigard’s collection

The journey of Edigard’s collection began in the late 1990s. Back then, a young Edigard explored the streets of Minas Gerais with his father, as they visited restaurants and eateries. “There was Coca-Cola everywhere,” he recalls. “In the fields, at parties, in houses.”

It was just the beginning of his affectionate relationship with the brand. In the blink of an eye, Edigard’s room was filled to the brim with Geloucos, miniature glow-in-the-dark figurines that Coca-Cola launched in 1998.

The gifts that made history

Long before that, Coca-Cola was bringing happiness to collectors. When the company first sponsored the FIFA World Cup in 1978, Tecobel encouraged fans of the beautiful game to submit their “team of the tournament” selection by launching collectible bottle caps with images of the Brazil national team’s stars. The caps are just one example of countless collectibles that have been launched for the competition over the years. Even today, many people still collect players’ figurines.

Incredibly, this is not the case for Edigard, but not for a lack of trying. “I had the complete collection,” he says, “but my dog destroyed them all”. After a brief pause, he adds: “I have not given up on it yet.”

Coca-Cola e Copa do Mundo da FIFA

Fortunately, Edigard’s collection still has countless items intact. Some that he takes particular pride in are a replica of the FIFA World Cup trophy acquired through the “CoupaLoucos” promotion in 2006, as well as the completed mini bottle collection from the 2014 tournament. At that time, Coca-Cola launched aluminum miniatures figures decorated with the flags of the countries that hosted the tournament, and the next host countries (Russia and Qatar).

Aside from promotional opportunities, Edigard, who is in the Brazilian Air Force, found other ways to increase his collection. Through a Facebook page he created, he finds others who share his passion for the brand and facilitates the exchange process.

"Some items I buy from collectors, and some I trade," he says. "I've traded with people from the United States, Russia, China and so on. I do not know how to speak another language, but we have our Brazilian charm, right?" he laughs.

He gets many articles from friends and neighbors: "As many people know that I collect, some visitors come with a treat or another." Just as a winning team does not make any changes, neither does Edigard’s collection. His message to visitors is crystal clear: "I am fine with looking and touching... But taking something is not. That goes too far!“

FIFA World Cup™
Edigard’s room has essentially become a Coca-Cola museum

As new items continuously arrive, the size of the room struggles to compete with Edigard’s passion for the brand. But naturally, the Mineiro native is a step ahead. He is currently renovating another larger room to fit some items that are boxed, as well as some that are on the way. Even his wife, Denise, has given in to his passion. She used to be surprised by the volume of his collection, but "Today she likes to help me organize and get more things." Plans for the next big item in the collection have already been made, as Edigard wants to “buy a VW Beetle and style it with Coca-Cola.”

Edigard has been collecting Coca-Cola items for over 20 years