[Soccer] Romario Nears 1000

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At the age of 41, he is the main striker of his team, Vasco da Gama, one of Brazil's leading squads.

This year alone, he has scored three hat-tricks.

If he does not score his 1,000th on Wednesday, his fans will look forward to Sunday, when Vasco confronts its most bitter rival, Flamengo, at Brazil's holy football ground, the Maracana Stadium.

So far, Romario has been outscored in world football only by Pele.

The legendary player hit the net 1,282 times - the only one to have scored more than 1,000 times.

And now the player known by his many fans as Shorty is likely to follow suit.

But is he really?

Own goal count

The goal count was done mainly by Romario himself and in order to speed up the process, he recently took part in a series of friendly matches and played short seasons for squads in the US and in Australia that would make Accrington Stanley look like Manchester United.

In Brazil, the local press acknowledges that Romario is nearly there, but says that the numbers are somewhat debatable.

Placar, one of Brazil's leading football magazines, claims Romario's personal stats credit him with 100 goals more than he has really scored.

"Currently, there are several parallel counts going on in Brazil," says Joao Carlos Assump??o of SportTV, a Brazilian sports channel.

"Some say Romario has seven goals fewer than he claims and others think he should not include the ones he scored during his youth league days, before becoming a professional.

"Critics say that the perfect day for goal 1,000 would be on April Fools Day," he says.

But many of Brazil's football pundits and fans have chosen not to dig deep in the controversy, for they believe Romario has more than earned the goals he claims.

Romario is absurdly gifted


Among them is Tostao, currently one of Brazil's leading football writers and a former legend of the 1970 Brazilian squad.

Tostao claims that whether he is about to reach 1,000 or a bit less is irrelevant.

"Some goals are being disputed because they were not scored in official games.

"But it's Romario's figures and he should be respected. Whether he scored 900, 950 or 1000, that does not diminish the genius of Romario, one of the greatest players of all time."

According to Tostao, "he is not only a fabulous striker, but a player who foresees the moves of his opponents in a few seconds. It's a knowledge that goes beyond logic. Romario is absurdly gifted".

Fifa backing

Amongst those who criticised Romario's "everything counts" strategy was Pele.

But Shorty, who has never displayed the reverence that others in Brazil show the mythic player, claims that Pele had no reservations about counting his own goals in unofficial contests.

A great deal of football history is based on myth and cannot rely solemnly on facts and figures

Jose Geraldo Couto

Last weekend, Romario's stats received an official endorsement by no less than Fifa itself.

Football's governing body said that the striker's goals scored, say, during a festive game played against The Friends of Luisinho are as legitimate as the ones Pele scored for Brazil's National Army team.

Jose Geraldo Couto, who writes a weekly football column in Brazil's leading newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo, says that Romario arouses a "love-him-or-leave-him feeling".

"Many criticise him for his lifestyle off the pitch and believe he sets a bad example," the writer says.

Romario had been notorious for his lush life, of being fond of pretty girls and loving the nightlife.

Change of image

But his public image has changed a great deal recently, especially since he became the father of a girl with Down's Syndrome.

His public displays of tenderness for his child and his engagement in the cause has led parents of children with special needs to admire him.

The tears that Romario shed in his last appearance with Brazil's national squad also made Brazilians realise that he was not only a bon vivant, but a devoted athlete.

Many also look back into 1994. That year, thanks mainly to Romario, Brazil won a World Cup after a 24-year gap.

Jose Geraldo Couto, who is also a leading film critic, says that the controversy surrounding Romario's 1000 goals is a bit like the famous quote from the western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

"A great deal of football history is based on myth and cannot rely solemnly on facts and figures," the critic says.

"The exact number is less relevant than the fact that Romario always dreamed of scoring 1,000 goals".

1000 goals is just mad...but kudos to him if tis true!!!:D:D

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Well it kinds of undermines his achievement when most of his goals have come in pointless friendlys...I mean I have probably scored a 1000 goals over the years kicking a ball round with my friends, does that make me the second best striker after Pele? I imagine there are some people who have scored more than Pele then!!


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  • 1 month later...
RIO DE JANEIRO, May 20 (Reuters) - Former Brazil striker Romario finally scored what he claims to be the 1,000th goal of his career by converting a penalty in Vasco da Gama's 3-1 over Sport Recife on Sunday.

The 41-year-old sent Sport goalkeeper Magrao the wrong way to spark extraordinary scenes at Vasco's Sao Januario stadium, where celebrations held up the Brazilian championship match for 16 minutes.

Dozens of people, including friends, relatives and a horde of radio and television reporters ran onto the pitch to hug, congratulate and interview the 1994 World Cup winner after his 48th minute goal.

Romario admits that his tally includes goals scored in youth team, friendly and testimonial games but this failed to dampen the celebrations.

The former PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona player was presented with a special shirt with the number 1,000 on the back by club president Eurico Miranda and completed a lap of honour.

He then went back onto the pitch and played for another 15 minutes, before being substituted to a standing ovation.

'I dedicate this to my family, my children, I'm really emotional, this is an extraordinary moment in my life,' he said immediately after the goal.

'It's a great pleasure to reach this target, which only one other player has managed,' he added.

Pele also scored his 1,000th goal from a penalty for Santos against Vasco da Gama in 1969.

'There are always some who don't like it, but only one other person has done it and I'm proud.'

Asked about Sport goalkeeper Magrao, who was on the receiving end, he said: 'He has gone down in history when he wants to or not. This could be good or bad for him, depending on how he looks at it.'

Romario's striking partner Andre Dias scored twice in the first half to put Vasco in control.

Romario, who always said he would have preferred to score the goal at the Maracana stadium, had two chances to score in the first half.

The first effort was cleared off the line by Du Lopes and the second went begging as he was tackled when about to shoot.

But there was no mistake when Vasco were awarded a penalty for handball three minutes after the break.

Vasco went off the boil after the goal and Luciano Henrique pulled one back for the visitors with seven minutes left.

Romario, playing his first game for nearly six weeks, had been stuck on 999 goals for three matches, during which Vasco were knocked out of two competitions and coach Renato Portaluppi was fired.

Magrao said the defeat hurt more than being on the wrong end of history.

'I would have preferred a win for Sport Recife. Nobody likes to lose and I'm no different,' he said.

Vasco coach Celso Roth said: 'It's a great honour. I'm very grateful to be here at this historic moment for Brazilian and world football.'

The win left Vasco as one of six teams who have taken maximum points from their opening two games alongside Palmeiras, Corinthians, Botafogo, Atletico Paranaense and Parana.

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very illegitimate record for him. From what I read he's still around 71 away from joining that club, but oh well, he's a great player and should be honored but probably honored in a more legitimate way.

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Wow, 1000 goals? Really? I'm surprised a milestone such as that is even possible since soccer/football is usually a very low scoring sport.

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This should definitely be taken with a pinch of salt.

Yeah I highly doubt he is anywhere near that record...

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