KEIR RADNEDGE in COSTA DO SAUIPE: Bebeto and Romario were the goal-scoring ‘twins’ who led Brazil to World Cup glory in the United States in 1994. But they have been on opposite sides of the 2014 argument.
Now 49, Bebeto is a member of the local organising committee and a ‘World Cup ambassador.’ However Romario, now a member of parliament, has been highly critical of the event’s costs and the concessions Brazil has made to the hosting award demands of FIFA – from tax concessions to ticket prices.
Bebeto, however, sought to draw a peaceful line across the argument here on the eve of the World Cup draw.
He said: “Everyone has his own opinion. Romario has his opinion and I have mine. We struggled a lot to get to where we have. I never had the chance to play a World Cup in my country and, as a member of the organising commttee, I can say the efforts undertaken this far have been wonderful.
“We have all risen to the challenge.
“As a footballer I had no idea what was involved. We needed to join hands and remain united to ensure Brazil can stage the best World Cup ever and bring us all together.”
On his personal relationship with Romario, Bebeto added: “Romario will always remain a friend. I have always been a moderate person and that’s the difference between the two of us.
“But we have a joint track record after all and the most important thing now is to show the world that Brazil can stage a large world sports event with not only a tangible but an intangible legacy.
“This is world sport’s largest event. Everyone, everywhere, stops to watch the World Cup and I hope that, after this one, Brazil will be six-times world champions.
“God has given us the opportunity to play a World Cup in our home country. It is a priceless opportunity and we cannot waste it.”