Join us and learn about the 5th best goal scorer in the history of football and one of the greatest Brazilian players ever in this Romario biography.
Romário de Souza Faria, simply known as Romario is one of the most beloved and greatest Brazilian players ever. A lethal finisher, Romario became one of the best goal scorers of all time throughout his career, with him having scored 780 goals (5 goals more than Pele) over the course of his 25+ years career. He is also Brazil’s 4th best goal scorer coming behind Pele, Ronaldo and Neymar with 55 International goals in 70 matches for Brazil.
During his club career he notably played for PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona in Europe and various Brazilian club, mostly based in his home town of Rio. During the late 80s and early to mid-90s there was seldom a forward more clinical than Romario, with his standout performance coming in the 1994 World Cup where he helped Brazil win the tournament after 24 years as he himself won the Golden Ball of the World Cup. Now with the brief introduction out of the way, Let’s take an extensive look at
to see how his journey as a footballer went.
In this Romario bio we take a closer look at how he became the legend he is known today, from his early years playing football in the streets of Rio to him being part of Johan Cruijff’s Dream Team and winning the World Cup and finally the last goals of his career that came at Vasco de Gama, the club that gave him his debut:
So let’s start Romario bio with a general information about his physical attributes and his position on the pitch:
Full Name: Romário de Souza Faria
Profession: Former footballer and manager, Politician
Height: 1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
Weight: 72 kg
Professional Debut: 1985
Jersey Number: 11
Date of Birth: 29 January 1966
Birth Place: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Born into a humble family, like many Brazilians, in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro.
Romario date of birth
being 29 January 1966 meant that
was spent in the 70s and 80s watching many great Brazilian players like Zico and Socrates.
but it wasn’t until his father took him to see a match of the local club Olaria that Romario completely fell in love with football and two years later he was signed with Olaria’s own yoth academy at the age of 13.
He quickly developed into an exceptional young talent and after a friendly against the Vasco de Gama in which he scored 4 goals in, Romario was signed by Vasco de Gama 1985.
Related Article:Best Young Strikers of 2020
In this section of Romario biography we take a look at his career as a footballer in the different teams that he played throughout his career, starting with Vasco de Gama:
First let’s take a look at Romario’s club career as well as his time with the Brazil national team:
1985 to 1993 (
Romario’s meteoric rise to fame
After being signed by the local club Vasco de Gama in 1985, Romario went on to feature in 4 seasons for them, helping them win 2 state championships. He scored 80 goals in 141 matches for
Vasco de Gama
in his first term at the club and he was pretty soon called up for the national team in 1987.
Then in 1988 Romario’s big move to Europe came as the Dutch side PSV Eindhoven succeeded in signing him. This would be perhaps his most successful time with any club he played at and also the longest. With PSV, Romario showed that he could ply his trade in Europe too.
In fact, he won the league and cup double in his first season at PSV and went on to beEredivise
’ top goal scorer for 3 season consecutively, as soon as he arrived in the league. He would another 2 league titles as well as a cup in his 5 seasons at PSV. Although he became a quite popular figure with the fans, he was not liked by his teammates mainly due to his lack of presence in the training sessions. He ended up scoring 128 goals in 149 matches for PSV, establishing himself as a goal machine.
Related Article:Best Strikers in Premier League History
1993 to 1999
(from the heights of his power back to Brazilian Serie A)
The next chapter in
Romario life story
would be its most memorable as the striker decided to move to La Liga and choseBarcelona
, who were managed by the legendary Johan Cruyff. Romario’s pace, low center of gravity, pure Brazilian technique and a sharp eye for goal proved the perfect fit for Cruyff’s Barcelona which would later be dubbed the Dream Team.
At Barcelona, Romario formed an excellent partnership with Hristo Stoichkov as the two tore teams apart and helped immensely in Barcelona becoming the champions of La Liga. Romario himself won the top goal scorer award by scoring 30 goals in 33 La Liga matches.
His second season was not as good as his first and soon after the 1995 January window opened, Romario opted to move back to Brazil but this time to Flamengo. In his first two seasons back in Brazil Romario scored 68 goals in 79 matches before he decided to come back toLa Liga
, but his move to Valencia didn’t work out after a few arguments with the coach Luis Aragones.
Romario moved back to Flamengo in order to prepare himself for the 1998 World Cup. In his second spell at Flamengo, Romario Proved even more critical as he scored 116 goals in 130 matches, helping the club win 2 state championships.
Related Article:Best La Liga Forwards of 2021
2000 to 2004 (
back to Vasco de Gama
After several successful years withFlamengo
, Romario decided to move back to the club that nurtured him, Vasco de Gama. In his first season back with Vasco, he became the South American Player of the Year, won the Brazilian Serie A top goal scorer award and helped Vasco win the competition by scoring an incredible amount of 66 goals in 71 matches across all competitions.
He followed that with another 40 goals in 39 games and another Serie A top goal scorer award before ending his second spell with Vasco scoring 26 goals in 25 matches in 2002.
Romario joined another Rio de Janeiro based club,Fluminense
in 2002. By now Romario who was 36 and was naturally slowing down a bit. He managed to score 47 goals in 75 matches which was not up to his levels, despite being a great record when compared to other players, which speaks volumes about his levels as a footballer and a finisher. During his 3 seasons with Fluminense, Romario also spend a short unsuccessful loan spell at Al-Sadd, Qatar in 2003.
Related Article:Best Attacking Trios in Football History
2005 to 2009 (
Romario’s tour around the world and Vasco again
In 2005, once again Romario chose to come back to his home, Vasco de Gama, and as was the case the last time around, Romario just seemed to be at another level when he played for Vasco. He managed to be Serie A’s top goal scorer in 2005 by scoring 22 goals in 30 matches at the age of 39!
He scored another 9 goals the following season before moving to American USL side,Miami FC
, where he helped the club reach their first ever USL-1 playoffs by scoring 19 goals in 25 matches. A short 5 match spell with Adeleide United in Australia followed but Romario was once again drawn back to Vasco de Gama.
In January 2007, Romario who was by now 41 years old came back to Vasco de Gama. He went on to score 15 goals in 19 matches for them, which included his supposed 1000th career goal, which is subject to many debates. Nonetheless, a statue of him at Vasco’s home ground was unveiled after the goal and Romario went on to retire from football months later on the February of 2008. Although he did play a single game in 2009 for his father’s favorite team America to help them win the second division and secure promotion, to fulfill his father’s dream.
is Brazilian and since his debut in 1987 he has gone on to become one of Brazil’s best ever players. His first major tournament was the 1988 Olympics, where he became the top scorer and won the Silver Medal with Brazil. But two years later he helped Brazil win the Copa America in Maracana by scoring the only goal in the final. Although he missed a lot of 1990 World Cup because injury, it was in 1994 where he truly became the player he is known today.
Partnered with Bebeto up front, Brazil’s famous No. 11 Romario went on to score 5 goals as he helped Brazil win the World Cup again after 24 years. He was given the Golden ball for the best player of tournament and cemented his place as a national hero.
He also helped Brazil to another Copa America and a Confederations Cup in 1997 before famously being set aside from Brazil’s 1998 World Cup squad due to injury. He didn’t feature in brazil’s 2002 World Cup squad either and finished his international career in 2005 in a celebratory friendly against Guatemala, in which he scored a goal.
Related Article:Best Duos in Football History
Considered by many to have revolutionized the center forward position, Romario was a born goal scorer. Despite his small build and stature, which earned him the nickname Baixinho ("
The Little One
"), there were few others as good as Romario in the opposition’s box.
While most forwards up to 1990s, were usually big and tall players who imposed themselves onto defenders, Romario brought a new way of playing as the main striker, as he would fall deep in midfield, collect the ball, dribble past opponents and score. The defenders never knew what to expect.
His positional awareness and the timing of his runs were his strongest assets as he would disorient the defenders by making a late run or be at the exact place he should be to poach a goal with one of his famous toe pokes. As a finisher Romario was supremely clinical and versatile with him scoring from volleys, solo runs, chips behind the keepers or just simple tap-ins. Basically if there was a way to score a goal, Romario had at least 20 goals scored in that way!
Related Article:Football Players with Most Individual Trophies
is full of people praising his talent and skills as a center forward. Most notably, Ronaldo who credited his goal scoring prowess to Romario stating that he learnt a lot from him.
Thierry Henry has also praised Romario and George Weah claiming that they were the strikers that changed the game as they no longer waitied for the ball to go to them but rather they took the initiative, received the ball in deeper positions and disoriented the defenses with technique and speed. Maradona has also stated that Romario was the best player he ever saw, alongside van Bastin.
Although he was and is generally loved by football fans all around the world, Romario was notoriously hard to work with. His attitude, discipline and work-rate off the pitch and in training has been subject of many heated debates with clubs, managers and even players. His time at PSV, his spat with Aragones atValencia
and his famous exclusion of the 2002 World Cup squad due to disciplinary problems are a few important incidents that immediately comes to mind.
Romario’s goal celebrations were never overtly enthusiastic as he would usually celebrate by running to the fans while raising his fist in the air. But perhaps the most memorable celebration that he did was the one after Bebeto’s goal against Netherlands in 1994 World Cup.
Bebeto whose son was born only a day before the match was able to run past Netherlands’ defense and keeper and score.
He celebrated the goal by imitating rocking a baby with his hands and as soon as he started Romario and Mazinho came to stand beside him doing the same gesture. The celebration has become one of the most famous in the history of football.
Related Article:Most Watched Football Matches in the World
Perhaps the most important fact about Romario life story outside football is that he became a politician, an elected one at that, after his retirement from football. In fact he began his political career a couple of years after his retirement, as he was elected as a member of Chamber of Deputies for the state of Rio de Janeiro in 2010.
He was at first part of the Brazilian Socialist Party but has since become a port of a more centrist Podemos part. Romario has been quite vocal about certain problems particularly ones that include FIFA dealings.
Romario was quite vocal and against the 2014 World Cup being held in his own country, believing that it was used as a money laundering front. He has also expressed that England’s right to host the 2018 World Cup was stolen from them and was given to Russia through corruption.
In 2014, Romario ran for Senate election and was selected as Rio de Janeiro’s senator. He also ran for Brazilian general election in 2018 but he ended up finishing in the fourth place with 8.6% of votes.
It wouldn’t be a complete Romario biography without mentioning his personal life. So read on as we take a look at Romario life story, relationships and philanthropy in this
Like many of Rio de Janeiro, the City of Christ, Romario’s family were believers and
like many other inhabitants of Rio is Christianity.
In regards to his relationship, Romario has been married 3 times. He and Monica Santoro were married in 1988 and the couple stayed together until 1995. He then married Danielle Favatto a year later and stayed with her until 2001 at which point the couple separated. His third marriage came in 2010 to Isabelle Bittencourt but they stayed together for only two years before splitting up.
He has 6 children, Daniellinha, Isabellinha, Ivy, Moniquinha, Raphael, Romarinho. His son, Romarinho, is also a footballer but nowhere near the levels his dad was. He has played for several different teams in Brazil, including Vasco de Gama and Tupi.
Related Article:Best English Football Players of All Time
Like many retired footballers, Romario has tried to help whenever he can through mostly friendly matches that are aimed at raising money for a certain foundation. A particular and memorable match of this kind happened in 2006 where a 14-year-old Neymar scored in a match organized by Romario and Robinho in hopes of raising money for charity.
While Romario is an elected official, he has had many lawsuits against him throughout his life. With lawsuits against him ranging from drunk driving incidents, tax fraud and even a doping case, which turned out to be a positive only because of the anti hair loss medication he took at the time.
One particularly strange incident was after his omission from the Brazil’s 1998 World Cup squad where he decided to mock Brazil’s manager Mario Zagallo by painting a cartoon of him. Zagallo went to court with this and won the case, forcing Romario to remove the doors to his bar that were painted with Zagallo’s likeness!
This section of Romario biography belongs to his career statistics in the Brazil national team and the clubs that he played at:
isn’t complete without his general statistics in the clubs that he played, starting with Vasco de Gama where he played in 141 matches and scored 80 goals, winning two state championships with them before moving toPSV Eindhoven
where he would win 5 major trophies and score 128 goals in 146 games.
He then joined Barcelona in 1993 and won the La Liga on his debut season, scoring 39 goals in 65 games during his one and a half seasons at Barcelona before moving back to Brazil and Flamengo. Romario had 2 spells at Flamengo between 1995 and 1999 where he scored a total of 184 goals in 209 matches. He also did play 12 games for Valencia during these times and scored 6 goals.His second spell at Vasco de Gama followed where Romario showed some of the best form of his career scoring 132 goals in 135 matches.
He followed that with a move to Fluminense where he scored 47 goals in 75 matches before he once again joined Vasco de Gama for a third spell scoring 39 goals in 54 matches. He then went to America and ended up scoring 19 goals in 25 matches for Miami FC. A 4 match spell at Adeleide United where he scored a single goal was followed by his final spell at Vasco de Gama which resulted in 15 goals in 19 matches, one of which was his alleged 1000th career goal. Although both FIFA and RSSSF debate this, claiming his goal tally to be somewhere in the mid-900. Romario ended up retiring from football in 2008.
Making his debut for Brazil’s national team in 1987, Romario went on to play for the Selecao in 70 games, scoring 55 goals. Although if his goals in the Olympics team is to be counted as well, he has scored 71 goals in 85 matches for Brazil.
Besides a brief 3-month tenure as a player/manager for Vasco de Gama in 2007, Romario has not an extensive career as a manager.
In October of 2007, Eurico Miranda, Vasco's President, appearantly had a hand in Vasco's team selection, since he didn't regard Romario as a permanant manager, so after Romario objected to the incident he was dismissed as a manager but remained on contract as a player.
In the final section of Romario biography, we take a brief look at his achievements, either team or individual achievements, throughout his years in theBrazilian Serie A
and state leagues to his days in Europe, America and Australia. Making his professional debut for Vasco de Gama in 1985, Romario went on to play for them for 4 years. Winning two state leagues, or Campeonato Carioca, in 1987 and 1988. He then went on to PSV Eindhoven and had one of the most successful times of his career there. He helped PSV win 3 League and 2 Cup titles in the 5 seasons he stayed with the Dutch club before his subsequent move to Spanish Giants Barcelona in 1993.
His stay to Barcelona was short but as a part of Johan Cruyff’s Dream Team, Romario helped them win the La Liga title in his first season while also becoming the competition’s top scorer in the same season. He left Barcelona in 1995 and had spells at Flamengo and Valencia, although his time at Valencia was limited. He won another two state championships with Flamengo.
A second spell at Vasco de Gama followed where he managed to score 66 goals in his first season while helping Vasco to yet another state league title. After a spell at Fluminense and a brief spell at Qatar’s Al-Sadd, where he won the Crown Prince Cup, he once again came back to Vasco to finish his career, retiring from football in 2008.
During his time with Brazil’s national team which started in 1987, Romario went on to win the 1988 Olympics Silver medal before helping Brazil win the Copa America in 1989. His standout performances of his career came at the 1994 World Cup where he helped Brazil win the competition again after 24 years. Another Copa America and Confederations Cup followed in 1997. He retired from international duty in 2005.
On individual level, he has won Campeonato Carioca's top scorer award 7 times as well as being named Brazilian Serie A’s top scorer 3 times. He has also won the same award in Eredivisie (3 times) and La Liga. Considered as one of the best ever World Cup players, Romario has been named in multiple selection of best players, including the FIFA 100. No matter what went on off the pitch, Romario was one of the most lethal strikers ever when he set foot on that green pitch!