Ten days ago, only the most
fanatical Corinthians fans knew who Romarinho was. Today, he is
The 21-year old striker made his starting debut two weekends
ago in the local derby against Corinthians' arch-rivals
Palmeiras, scoring twice to help the club to a 2-1 win.
Three days later he came off the bench in the first leg of
the Copa Libertadores final in Buenos Aires and grabbed the goal
that brought his side level 1-1 with Boca Juniors.
That goal has made Corinthians favourites to lift their
first ever Libertadores trophy when the sides line up for the
return leg in Sao Paulo's Pacaembu stadium on Wednesday.
Corinthians are in the final for the first time, while Boca
are in their tenth, seeking a seventh win that would bring them
alongside fellow Argentines Independiente as the most successful
team in the competition.
However, while Boca have the experience, Corinthians have
They are unbeaten in the tournament so far and have conceded
just four goals in their 13 matches.
For all that, they still have trouble scoring and have drawn
uncomplimentary comparisons with Chelsea, who beat attack-minded
Barcelona and Bayern Munich on their way to winning the
Champions League this year.
Like the Londoners, Corinthians put organisation ahead of
flair and like to pack players behind the ball.
Romarinho could be the answer to their goalscoring problems.
The youngster fulfills all the requisites of a Brazilian
footballing hero. Son of a poor family whose father cut sugar
cane for a living, he was rejected by several top teams before
finally coming good at lowly Bragantino.
Corinthians snapped him up last month after he scored six
goals in 23 games in the Paulista State Championship earlier
Although his name means little Romario, he is not related to
the former Brazil striker turned federal Congressman, even if he
reportedly shares the same penchant for nightlife and killer
instinct in front of goal.
"Romarinho is cool, he's ice cold, and he had already showed
that in the game against Palmeiras," coach Tite said after the
Boca Juniors match.
"He's deadly, you just have to give him the ball in the last
third of the field to let him do what he knows how."
Both teams will be at full strength for Wednesday's decider.
Boca Juniors did not play at the weekend because the Argentina
Clausura tournament is over, while Corinthians' match against
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