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Rediff.com  » Sports » Now, Romario praises Ronaldo, 2014 organisers

Now, Romario praises Ronaldo, 2014 organisers

December 17, 2011 12:48 IST

Former Brazil striker Romario, having slammed his country's preparations to stage the 2014 finals, adopted a more conciliatory tone on a visit to the Local Organising Committee on Friday.

Romario said fellow World Cup winner Ronaldo, named this month to the LOC's administrative council, had fortified Brazil's preparations.

Meanwhile, late starters Sao Paulo were praised by the LOC for the speed of work on the new Itaquerao stadium but delays at the Maracana were still a concern.

"(Ronaldo's) credibility is everything to make the competition a success. Now, Brazilian football and the Cup have a face," Romario, now a member of parliament, said.

Apart from Ronaldo, the council will be made up of Ricardo Teixeira, president of both the Brazilian Football Federation and the LOC, and another person yet to be named.

Romario said in an interview in October that Teixeira was hindering preparations by not communicating effectively with the Brazilian government.

Teixeira was at Friday's meeting called by Romario but made no statements.

"I asked for the meeting. People say all I do is slam the CBF or the LOC. I defend the Brazilian people. I came to say I don't have anything in particular against Ronaldo or Ricardo or any of the bodies," Romario said.

"(Ronaldo) will have an active and important role on the LOC council. Many people said he would just be a badge... but it won't be like that. Brazil will now be looked at differently."

His former Brazil strike partner Ronaldo said: "We'll show the people everything we want to do, transmitting a message of strength and optimism, but we want a critical Romario too."

Work started late on the Itaquerao, the brand new stadium being built for Sao Paolo-based Brazilian champions Corinthians, but after little more than half a year's work 20 percent of the job has been done.

Rio Sports Secretary Marcia Lins was confident the job would be finished on time. "The Maracana will be ready in February 2013," she said.

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