Romario was once one of the greatest strikers on the planet, picking up the World Player of the Year Award in 1994 — the same year he lifted the World Cup with Brazil.
Since 2010, however, the former Barcelona star has been a congressman for the state of Rio de Janeiro, who has used his fame and political influence to condemn the 2014 World Cup.
Essentially, Romario isn't a big fan of FIFA or its executives. This week, the 48-year-old gave an interview with ESPN Brazil in which he made some inflammatory remarks about general secretary Jerome Valcke and president Sepp Blatter (quotes via SambaFoot.com):
“For the history of this guy [Valcke], he is one of the biggest racketeers in world sport. He did blackmail with FIFA’s president [Blatter], who is a thief, corrupt and a son of a b*tch. Sorry for that expression, but this is what we coexist with.
This isn't the first time Romario has lambasted football's governing body. Around the time of last year's Confederations Cup, he wrote an editorial for The Guardian in which he explained why he had made a U-turn on his support for the tournament.
In a nation crying out for heath, education and infrastructure improvements, a staggering $11.4bn is being spent on the World Cup. FIFA, meanwhile, are set to walk away with $1.7bn in tax-free profit.
Romario fears that Brazil will be left with only white elephant stadiums, a large debt and none of the promised social benefits. "It will be the biggest robbery in the history of Brazil," he said in December last year.
He may get into trouble for making these feisty defamatory remarks about Sepp and Jerome, but a man who used to regard training as optional and who was once sent home from a tournament for peeing from a balcony has never been one to play it by the book.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Sepp Blatter
- Jerome Valcke
- 2014 World Cup