The football legend Romario once said,"strikers are egotists and selfish."He certainly did it his way.One of the the greatest footballers of the nineties. He may have acquired the nickname "shorty",but he was a giant on the pitch and had enormous talent right where it mattered,in front of goal.His coach Carlos Alberto Parreira described him as the" king of the penalty box" at the1994 World Cup finals. It was there in the USA, that he gave a titanic performance to bring home another World Cup title for Brazil in an historic Final.
Born in Rio De Janerio in 1966, he was playing in Europe for PSV Eindhoven when he was selected for ITALIA 90. Romario only played one game against Scotland , he was substituted after 66 minutes by Muller who scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory. the Brazilian side were described as one of the worst ever, and were knocked out by Argentina in the next round
Shorty arrived at the 1994 Finals in the USA as La Liga's top scorer with 30 goals in 33 matches for Barcelona.He announced "I'm going to give my life to win this World Cup".He and Bebeto were Brazil's potent strike force. Romario refused to sit next to Bebeto on the departure plane, and demanded a window seat.Earlier he had insulted Pele, and demanded that Parriera play his friend Edmundo. The coach was prepared to forgive his arrogance.
In the opening game against Russia, Romario scored first assisted by Bebeto, and a Rai penalty sealed a 2-0 victory. Against Cameroon the familiar Romario,Bebeto one two's were instrumental.They helped themselves to a goal each in a convincing 3-0 win.A superb solo goal from Romario ensured a draw against Sweden in the final group game.
In a thrilling Quarter-Final, Romario opened the scoring with a stunning volley as they overcame Holland 3-2.They met Sweden again in the Semi-Final, and Romario shone,as he casually dribbled around the Swedish goalkeeper, only to be let down by his own arrogance. Not looking at goal, his tame shot was cleared of the line.Shorty was to make amends though with a colossal header from a Jorginho cross to seal the tie.Brazil played Italy in the final, and the Italians did what they do best and defended for 90 minutes and extra time.So for the first time ever the World Cup Final was decided by a penalty shoot-out,fittingly Brazil won with Romario scoring one of the penalties.He scored five goals and was voted the tournaments best player.
Although selected for the next World Cup in France,injury robbed of his place.At 36 he was dropped from the 2002 world cup squad by Scolari because of indiscipline.
After the 1994 World Cup the world should have been his oyster, but whether he ever eat the oyster or maybe it was too bitter to swallow,only he really knows.He never reached the world stage again,he did form a memorable partnership with Ronaldo for Brazil,and is the second highest scorer in Brazil's history behind Pele. Romario claims to have scored 1,000 goals,FIFA records state it is 929 (beach soccer does not count!) What is not in doubt is that he was a unique striker.
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