Romario carving out new footballing role

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Brazilian legend Romario has decided to extend his career in Australia, and is now turning out for Adelaide United in their domestic A-League.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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Australian football has made quite an impact in 2006, with the national side unexpectedly making it to the knockout stage of the World Cup in Germany. But there are also a number of players attracting plenty of attention in their domestic A-League, none more so than Brazilian legend Romario. The World Cup winner in 1994 has been around, as they say, and has now found himself at Adelaide United in South Australia, his 13th professional club. And at the age of 40, the man who won the Golden Ball at USA 1994, is still finding his feet in a new country. "I've only been here for a few weeks, but I've discovered that Australian football is very strong. They have good players with good technique," said Romario. Changing times Competing with players half his age cannot be easy, but Romario has kept himself in good condition and after a glittering career during which he has collected five league titles in Brazil, three in Holland with PSV Eindhoven, and another in Spain with Barcelona, one last ambition remains. "I just love the game. Apart from that, I would like to score my 1000th goal before I retire. I only need 14 now, and that is my motivation," added Romario. Romario would be the first to admit that the game has changed a lot during his 20-year career, but in modern football there are plenty of players who have earned his admiration - and not all of them are Brazilian. "I think that Thierry Henry is a very good player and although he has not been playing too well recently, Ronaldo at Real Madrid still has everything. And Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney at Manchester United," he maintained. By their own high standards, the Brazilian national team had a poor World Cup, losing to France one-nil in the quarter-finals. Romario earned the last of his 70 caps the year before, in 2005, but thinks that the new coach, Dunga, will take the five-time world champions back to the top. Little impact Romario, often criticised for a perceived 'Prima Donna' attitude in the past, has signed for Adelaide on a temporary basis - for just four matches in the run-up to Christmas. He's already played two, making little impact on the field, but Adelaide head coach John Kosmina and Romario's fellow Brazilian, midfielder Fernando, cannot praise his contribution to the team as a whole highly enough. "Character. He's a great character. And the guy's a winner, you know? He wants to play, he wants to play well, and he wants to win the game and he's fitted in with the blokes. I mean, we heard - I never knew him as a person before - heard all sorts of rumours, about what his attitude (was) and stuff, but he's been great with the players, fantastic. He's a breath of fresh air," said John Kosmina, head coach, Adelaide United. This weekend Adelaide United, who lie in mid-table in the eight-team A-League, take on the New Zealand Knights, firmly rooted to the bottom. Romario has a golden opportunity to add to his 986 top-flight goals, but perhaps more importantly, he could help his new team move into third place in the table. At the very least, his presence on the park will boost the attendance figures and give Australian domestic football a much-needed fillip.(AP)