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Politics is Rio deal for Rom

Romario, who won the 1994 World Cup with Brazil and scored more than 1,000 goals in his career, is looking to give something back to his home city by entering local politics.

'Shorty', the poor boy from the Jacarezinho shanty town who became one of the world's best strikers, is seeking support from the poor in Rio de Janiero to win a local election.

If he is elected as a federal deputy for the Rio branch of the Brazilian Socialist Party, Romario would hope to help deprived children, "to give back all that which Father in Heaven gave me".

Romario, whose youngest daughter has Down's Syndrome, proposes creating sports centres for young poor people in Rio state and providing social assistance to disabled children.

"In politics I'm going to have less difficulty than I've had so far to do something for children and young people in the community, and also for children with special needs," the 44-year-old said.

"People, especially in the communities, respect me and see in me someone who came from where they are and that they can get to where I did," he said after hours of campaigning in the City of God favela on Sunday.

"I was always an example for them in that sense and now that I can, I must give back all that which Father in Heaven gave me -- and I believe politics can make that possible for me."

The former Flamengo, Vasco da Gama, Fluminense, PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona and Valencia striker, who retired from football at 41 after scoring more than 1,000 goals according to his own statistics, promises "another goal for Brazil".

In an electoral TV programme, Romario says: "In sport, I always promised and delivered. In politics, it won't be any different. I count on your vote to score another goal for Brazil."

If elected, Romario, who also has a strongonline campaign with 112,000 Twitter followers, will have to spend the week in the capital Brasilia.

He promised, however, to continue as a director of America, the Rio club he has always supported and which won promotion to the state first division, although they are in the fourth tier of the national championship.

He said: "What I do in football is help America, and that's something I won't stop doing. But I'm going to get fully involved in politics."