RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo has attacked Ronaldo as having “scored an own goal” in criticising the pace and state of Brazil’s preparations for the imminent World Cup finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Ronaldo, the 2002 World Cup-winning striker who is a member of the local organising committee, said last week that he was “ashamed” about the delays.

Rebelo responded: “He has scored an own since he has been a part of the great effort put in to stage the World Cup here. I’m sure that, in the end, not only Ronaldo but all Brazilians and foreign tourists will be proud and not ashamed of what has been done.

“We have used the World Cup to confront the weaknesses in the construction industry in Brazil. It’s the World Cup, through the strengths of the varios levels of government, which have enabled all the works of infrastructure, urban transport, airports etc to go forward.

“What we have to do is meet all these challenges but feeling ashamed of the country is not a solution.”

Ronaldo has also been accused of trying to make political capital out of the isse since he has said he will support Aécio Neves’s bid to oust Dilma Rousseff as state President in the October elections.