RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Romario and Bebeto formed a deadly duo on the soccer field, helping Brazil lift the World Cup in 1994, and are now hoping to be just as successful in politics by teaming up to reform their ailing state of Rio de Janeiro.
Romario, who is a senator for his home state, announced on Thursday that state legislator Bebeto would join his political party Podemos and that they would work together to reform the state, which is bankrupt and beset by increasing violence.
“Our dream is going to happen,” Romario said in a short statement. “Together we can rebuild Rio. All you have to do is join us.”
Romario has already said he will stand for Rio state governor next year, while Bebeto could run for the Senate.
The two marksmen will be familiar to Rio’s football fans who in the ‘80s and ‘90s watched them bang in goals for Flamengo and Vasco da Gama, two of the city’s biggest clubs.
Romario also took Europe by storm, scoring hundreds of goals, including many at PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona. Bebeto, meanwhile, enjoyed a golden period with Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna.
But it is for their partnership at the 1994 World Cup in the United States that the diminutive duo are best remembered, and particularly the quarter-final against the Netherlands.
Romario had already put Brazil 1-0 ahead with a classic goal before they added a second 10 minutes later through bebeto, whose wife had given birth to a son just days before.
Bebeto ran to the sidelines rocking an imaginary baby, Romario joined in and the celebration became one of the most iconic moments of the tournament.
Brazil won 3-2 and went on to beat Italy on penalties in the final to claim the World Cup for a then-record fourth time.
Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier, Writing by Andrew Downie; Editing by Ken Ferris