Romario and Schumacher turn down Champions League chance
MILAN (Reuters) - Retired Brazil striker Romario and ex-Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher have declined an offer to play for San Marino's SS Murata in their Champions League first qualifying round match at home to Gothenburg next Tuesday.
Romario's fellow Brazil World Cup winner Aldair, 42, will play in the first-leg match however.
"On May 23 Romario's father died and he told Aldair that he didn't feel it was right to leave everyone to come and play. It is a shame because we were close to this dream," Murata sporting director Denis Casadei told Italian media.
He said Germany's retired seven times Formula One world champion Schumacher, a keen soccer player who sometimes turns out for his local club FC Echichens in Switzerland, had also turned down the chance to be involved.
Murata, who have won back-to-back doubles in the tiny landlocked republic near Italy's Adriatic coast, recruited Aldair for last year's Champions League campaign.
However, they were eliminated 4-1 on aggregate by Finnish club Tampere United in the first qualifying round.
Romario, who is also 42, announced his retirement in April after a controversial career in which he claimed to have scored more than 1,000 goals.
(Writing by Mark Meadows, editing by Alan Baldwin)
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