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Know your Barca legends: Romario's El Clasico hat-trick

The brilliant Brazilian was too good for Madrid back in 1994

Romario At Barca Photo by Chris Cole/Getty Images

Johan Cruyff, the legendary Dutchman, had the opportunity to manage some of the greatest players of their generation as the coach that gave Barça it's fabled "Dream Team".

There was no shortage of stars in Cruyff's locker-room; Barcelona's latest acquisition, Brazilian sensation Romário loved to party and wanted a vacation to visit the carnival at Rio de Janeiro mid-season.

As unhappy as that made Cruyff, the coach challenged his star-forward to score a brace in the upcoming fixture in exchange for a two-day vacation to Brazil.

On 9th January 1994, Romário would score his goal within 20 minutes of kick-off at the Camp Nou against Real Madrid, as he signalled to Cruyff, that his flight was due in an hour; Romário finished the game with a hat-trick and an assist as he led Barça to a manita against their eternal rivals, helping the Catalans to romp their way towards the Liga title.

In a season where Barça fell just short of glory after a torrid loss to AC Milan in the European Cup final, Romário cemented himself in the memories of Culés across the globe with a display of football that wrote his legend.

Romário came into the limelight after earning success in the Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven, under the tutelage of Guus Hiddink.

Brought in by Cruyff in 1993 to partner Hristo Stoichkov in attack, Romário was the final piece of the jigsaw in the Dutchman's project; the Brazilian delivered in extra-ordinary fashion as he won the Pichichi scoring a remarkable 30 goals in 33 games in his debut season.

The striker formed a lethal partnership with the Bulgarian up-top, spear-heading the Catalans in all competitions; Romário was fast, had amazing ability on the ball, and could find the back of the net with his eyes closed if he wanted to.

In the summer of 1994, after winning the league with Barça, Romario impressed on the international stage, winning the FIFA World Cup with Brazil and being named Player of the Tournament. He would also go on to win the FIFA World Player of the Year, in 1994 after having been a runner-up the previous year.

The talismanic Brazilian however courted controversy on multiple occasions, including a five-game suspension for landing a left-hook on Diego Simeone. The contentious behaviour of the striker meant he only remained briefly with the club, departing for Flamengo in 1995 after a spat with his coach, having missed training due to an extended vacation.

Despite his eccentric behaviour and short spell at the club, Romário remains one of the most enigmatic and prolific players to have graced the Camp Nou with his presence.

To quote the man himself—

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