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See to believe: soccer club unfurls gigantic banner

Martin Rogers
Yahoo Sports

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(AP)

A South American soccer club has made history by unfurling a giant banner that completely covered three-quarters of its stadium.

Fans of Nacional, based in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, spent nearly two years preparing the enormous banner that took hundreds of people to carry it into the Estadio Centenario arena ahead of a game on Thursday.

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Fans of Uruguay's Nacional unfurl a gigantic flag before the start of a Copa Libertadores soccer match. (AP)

The banner – spanning 1,800 feet by 150 feet – was created in Nacional's red, white and blue colors, complete with a team crest and a series of slogans. It was primarily made with fan volunteers, with the club providing some financial assistance and backing the project.

Each of the 5,400 fans who assisted in the production had their named etched into the material, along with the names of the club founders.

Preparation for the unfurling began several hours before the match against Mexican side Toluca in the Copa Libertadores tournament, which Nacional went on to win 4-0.

"It was extraordinary," said Jimmy Lianis, an Australian tourist who was visiting the game. “There was like this buzz of energy and then it suddenly unfurled. At first we were kind of bummed to be on the one side that wasn't covered, but it was actually better because it meant we got to see it more. It was unforgettable."

Three stands, known as Amsterdam, Colombes and Olympic, were covered as the ceremony created an atmosphere just as raucous as if a spectacular goal had been scored.

Nacional boasts an outstanding record of success throughout its 114-year history, and is one of the most famous teams in the South American continent.

Its iconic colors are inspired by Uruguay’s national hero Jose Gervasio Artigas and fans superstitiously believe that Artigas, commonly known as the father of Uruguayan nationhood, "smiles down upon us."

If so, he would surely have been impressed by Thursday's spectacle.

Watch the banner unfurled here: 

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