Soccer is more than just a sport in Brazil; it's almost a religion. Ahead of this year's World Cup, photojournalist Christophe Simon prowled the streets of Rio and explored every corner of its famed favelas (slums) to see just how deep love runs for "the beautiful game".
Around the City of God slum, Simon was followed by hordes of children, asking a thousand questions while passing a soccer ball around. Piqued, he decided to bring the kids on a photo-shooting tour around their neighbourhoods from February to May last year.
Loaning 10- to 15-year-olds waterproof cameras and teaching them some basic techniques, Simon set them loose, dodging drug dealers and gangs along the way.
The results, pictured here, were "astonishing" and, as Simon says, "more authentic than anything I could have done". All photos by AFP.