Romario scores and leaves Brazil in tears

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The Independent Football

Romario bade farewell to the international stage on Wednesday night with a goal, a booking and an emotional send-off.

Romario bade farewell to the international stage on Wednesday night with a goal, a booking and an emotional send-off.

"Unfortunately, it's over now," the 39-year-old said after Brazil's 3-0 win in the friendly against Guatemala. "I knew it had to happen, but it's tough when I realise this is it. It's a very special moment, I've been very proud to wear the Brazilian jersey all these years."

The striker could not hold back the tears as the national anthem was played at Pacaembu stadium in Sao Paulo, and went on to score with a header in the 16th minute - the last of his 71 goals for Brazil in 84 games. He celebrated by taking off his shirt to reveal a T-shirt dedicated to his daughter, Ivy, born last month with Down's Syndrome.

"I have a Down's daughter who is a little princess" the T-shirt read - which did not prevent a booking. He was substituted in the 39th minute, and the match was stopped as he left the field escorted by members of the 1994 World Cup-winning side.

The striker, Brazil's second-highest scorer behind Pele, intends to play on at club level, having extended his contract with Vasco da Gama until the end of the Brazilian championship in December. He also is expected to play in Fifa's first Beach World Cup in May.

The former Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly, meanwhile, has put his retirement plans on hold. The 36-year-old has been playing for Al-Ittihad in Qatar where he won the league.

Despite recently announcing it would be his last season, yesterday he said: "I will still be playing football next year. Now, I will see if I stay in Qatar or whether I will come back to Europe."

The Peterborough defender Andy Legg has been forced to retire after a tumour on his neck was found to be cancerous. The 38-year-old former Wales international does not know how far the cancer has spread, but has been told that he will never be fit enough to play again.

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