Brazilian footballing great turned politician Romario says corruption — not just poor play — was to blame for the country’s humiliating exit from the World Cup a year ago Wednesday.

“On the field, the diagnosis was obvious — the panic and inability to react by the players,” Romario said of the 7-1 collapse in the semi-final to Germany, who went on to win the tournament in Brazil.

Romario, a star on Brazil’s 1994 World Cup winning team and now a senator, said however that the players were not the only culprits.

“Off the field, the problem was far worse: a complex web of corruption involving the CBF (ruling body), federations clubs, agents, marketing businesses and managers,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

“Together, they destroyed our football because they had one sole aim — to get rich.”

A year after the embarrassing exit from a World Cup that Brazil was not only hosting but was under huge pressure to win, the football-mad country’s sporting leaders are debating how to rebuild the team.

The coach, Dunga, has warned that Brazil’s road back to “dominance of world football” will be neither easy nor quick.

Romario said the fiasco at the World Cup saddened him, “not because I wanted to be on the pitch, but because I have had a privileged view, already for several years, of Brazilian football‘s deterioration.”

The latest signs of Brazilian football‘s multiple problems were elimination by lowly Paraguay last month in the quarter-finals of the Copa America and the arrest of Jose Maria Marin, a former Braziliansoccer boss, in the FIFA corruption scandal.

On Tuesday, Brazilian international defender Daniel Alves said that Bayern Munich trainer Pep Guardiola, a Spaniard, had offered to coach Brazil at the World Cup. 

The job went to Luiz Felipe Scolari, keeping the tradition of Brazilian coaches.

“Pep is the best trainer in the world, the best sporting manager I’ve known,” Alves said. 

“If you pass up on an opportunity like that, it’s because the team doesn’t matter to you.” – Agence France-Presse

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