Football around the world: Flamengo call halt to romance with Romario

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The Independent Online

FLAMENGO HAVE sacked their World Cup-winning striker Romario for going to a nightclub the day after his team were knocked out of the Brazilian championship.

The club's president, Edmundo Santos Silva, said Romario, who led Brazil's 1994 World Cup winning side, had been sacked after leaving the team hotel against orders the day after a 3-1 away defeat to Juventude in southern Brazil on Wednesday. "He went to a nightclub to have a good time while millions of fans were crying at home," said Silva. "The Romario era has finished, against my will. My heart is very sad at this, bleeding and crying."

The player is known for his love of nightlife and once said that he plays better after a good night out. Wednesday's result meant that Flamengo failed to finish in the top eight of the championship.

It was not clear whether Flamengo, who are widely reported to owe their star player more than one million dollars in wages, would sell the 33- year-old or simply leave him on the sidelines.

Romario has a history of controversy, having fallen out with the Brazilian national coach Wanderley Luxemburgo, who has played him only once during his time in charge. One month ago, he was fined by Flamengo for missing training.

Romario was Flamengo's top scorer in this year's Brazilian championship with 12 goals in 21 games.


THE GERMAN veteran midfielder Lothar Matthaus is set to repay the faith shown in him by Bayern Munich by delaying his move to America.

The sweeper was planning a holiday before taking up his player-coach role with Major League side New York/New Jersey Metrostars.

But Bayern have appealed for Matthaus to extend his stay in Germany because the Champions' League hopefuls have injury and suspension problems and the 38-year-old, who equalled the international caps record when he played for the 143rd time for his country against Norway on Sunday, said: "I don't desert anyone who shows faith in me. I haven't forgotten that this club, my club, brought me back from Italy in 1992 when I tore my ligament, at a time when Inter... didn't care two hoots."


A ROW between the Nigerian Football Association and the country's sports ministry is delaying the appointment of a national coach to lead the side at the African Nations' Cup starting on 22 January, which they are co-hosting with Ghana.

The sports ministry prefer Dutchman Jo Bonfrere, who has been interviewed for the job, while the NFA want his compatriot Clemens Westerhof, currently coach of Zimbabwe. "We won't allow the sports ministry muscle us into signing Bonfrere," the NFA chairman, Anthony Kojo Williams, said.