Now 43, Brazil legend Romario was always supremely gifted with a ball at his feet. Although neither particularly tall nor athletic, the Rio de Janeiro native became a goalscoring icon in a country where gifted footballers seem to grow on trees. Moreover, the talents of O Baixinho were not limited to his on-field endeavours, and he was often as dangerous around a microphone as he was in the penalty area.
Throughout a prolific career, in which he claims to have scored more than 1,000 goals, controversy was never far away from the forward variously described as an extrovert, hedonist and genius. FIFA.com takes a look back at some of the most memorable musings of the often-polemic but always-entertaining Brazilian, who took a winner's medal and the adidas Golden Ball award home from the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA™.
"The day I was born, God laid eyes on me and said: 'He's the man.'"
Romario after winning the league championship with Flamengo in 1998
"I'm like money, at the end of the day everybody quite likes me."
Romario's unique self-appraisal
"The goalscorer always deserves some credit but not this time. The way I hit that, even my mother would have saved it."
Romario in a rare example of self-reproach
"I'm like any Brazilian: I like women and I like to go out and enjoy myself, which is why people can identify with me. The night has always been my friend. When I go out I feel good, then I always score goals."
Romario on his fondness for nightlife
"Because I come from the favela, I know about misery and what it means to make sacrifices. I was also poor and suffered hardships. In my day, unfortunately, nobody reached out a hand, which is why I'm happy to help now."
Romario on the launch of his Romarinho Foundation, a project to help Rio street children
"I don't see there being a successor. There was only one Pele, only one Maradona, and there'll only ever be one Romario. However, in the penalty area I consider myself the best there's been."
Romario on his legacy
"There's nothing I like more than football ...except for sex."
Romario on his personal tastes
"Wherever my name appears it's linked to a scandal. Trouble follows me around, but that's ok. I'm like an Indian; I only hit out when I've been attacked first."
Romario on his habitual involvement in controversies
"Only televisions should worry about projecting a good image."
Romario remains indifferent to rumours surrounding his social life
"Will I become a coach in the future? No way, I'd never be able to put up with someone like me."
Romario before changing his mind and coaching Vasco de Gama
"How does it feel to have this cup in my hands? Cold, because the thing is freezing!"
Romario jests on getting reaquainted with the FIFA World Cup Trophy in an interview with FIFA.com
"Some people say I lost control, but they don't realise Romario has emotions too. If Pele and (Brazilian basketball star) Oscar can show their emotions, why can't Romario?"
Romario on shedding tears in a press conference where he asked in vain for Luiz Felipe Scolari to include him in the squad for Korea/Japan 2002
"I've enjoyed myself very much but I just can't match the younger generation anymore. I've done everything I ever wanted to do in football."
Romario on his retirement from professional football. Currently, he is considering a return with Rio de Janeiro state second-division side America.
"I wish God had warned me not to say some of the stupid things I've come out with on occasion."
Romario in a moment of reflection
"I didn't kill Michael Jackson, bring swine flu to Rio de Janeiro or rob anybody, yet I'm being made out to be the villain of all Brazil. Well, I'm not."
Romario at a recent press conference where he rejected allegations he was embroiled in financial scandals
Have your say
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