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Ex-Soccer Stars Elected to Public Office in Brazil

Posted October. 07, 2010 02:41,   


Two former soccer stars have won election to public office in Brazil, the host of the 2014 World Cup.

Brazilian media said Monday that Romario was elected to the federal lower house of Congress in an election held alongside the presidential election. A member of the left-leaning Brazilian Socialist Party, he ran in Rio de Janeiro.

Romario helped Brazil break a 24-year title drought by scoring five goals in the 1994 World Cup in the U.S. He received the Golden Ball as Most Valuable Player and became a national hero in his country.

Joining the party in September last year, he made campaign pledges such as children’s welfare and construction of sports centers. He urged the Brazilian public to support him by saying, “As a player, I promised to score goals and delivered my promises, so I’ll keep my promises with voters in politics as well.”

Playing for Barcelona and Valencia of the Spanish league after the 1994 World Cup, Romario scored 1,042 goals in 1,256 games and retired in 2008. After retirement, he suffered a series of scandals involving tax evasion and illegal gambling.

He was also arrested in July last year for failing to pay child support to his former wife.

Romario, however, apparently recovered his fame by winning in Monday’s election.

Another retired player, Bebeto, was also elected to the 70-member Rio state legislature as a member of the Democratic Workers’ Party despite doubts over his prospects. He was a teammate of Romario on Brazil`s 1994 World Cup winning team and is known for his “cradle ceremony” after scoring.

In addition, 23 former jocks made a foray into politics. Brazilian media said their election to public office will help promote the South American country ahead of its hosting of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.