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Renato leaves Vasco; Necaxa next?

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The saga involving Romario 1,000th goal took a new twist on Friday as Mexico's Necaxa were reported to be interested in signing the veteran and the coach of his current team Vasco da Gama was fired.

Renato, who has been in charge of Vasco for nearly two years, gave a tearful news conference, where he confirmed that he would be leaving the club.

"I hope the next coach has better luck than I had," he said. "I feel very proud to have worked here. This was the best club of my life, as a coach or as a player.

"It's very unusual for a coach to stay at a club for two years in Brazil."

Renato has seen his team knocked out of two competitions in the last week as they have attempted to help 41-year-old Romario score the 1,000th goal of his career, according to his own statistics.

Romario has remained stuck on 999 goals for the last three games.

Vasco were dumped out of the Copa Brasil last week by second division Gama, losing 2-1 at the Maracana. On Wednesday, they drew 4-4 with Botafogo in a Carioca championship semi-final and then lost 4-1 on penalties.

On both occasions, Romario played the full 90 minutes despite looking off the pace and static.

Vasco do not have another match until they kick off their Brazilian championship campaign on May 12 and their next match at the Maracana stadium, where Romario dreams of scoring his 1,000th goal, is not until June 3.

Renato's sacking will add to the controversy over whether Vasco are attaching too much importance to Romario's personal ambitions, despite the official line that the 1,000th goal is a secondary matter.

The former Barcelona and Brazil player appeared able to pick and choose his games as he sat out Vasco's last two games away from the Maracana.

The tally itself is widely questioned as Romario openly admits he has included goals scored in youth games, friendlies and testimonials. Only 752 goals have been scored in matches which would usually be classed as competitive.


In Mexico, Necaxa president Javier Perez Teuffer was quoted as saying that he was interested in signing Romario for the knockout stages of the South American Libertadores Cup, if his side advance.

Necaxa, based in the industrial town of Aguascalientes, still need to beat Alianza Lima at home in their final pool match to qualify from Group Two.

"He could be one of the options, we're trying to talk to him about wages and everything else he needs," Perez Teuffer told the sports daily Ovaciones.

"It would be great if he scored his 1,000th goal in Aguascalientes."

Romario has previously played for clubs in Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Qatar and the United States as well as his native Brazil.