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By ESPN Staff

Romario fails doping test, blames hair medicine

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - A hair loss medicine was responsible for former Brazil striker Romario failing a doping test after a club match, the player said on Tuesday.

The Vasco da Gama striker, who has played sporadically since scoring what he claimed to be the 1,000th goal of his career in May, said he had tested positive for finasteride after the game against Palmeiras on Oct. 28.

'I'm losing some hair and I have been taking this product for a while,' the 41-year-old told a news conference.

Brazil's disciplinary tribunal has not said when it would rule on the case.

The 1994 World Cup winner said he planned to keep playing until early next year and did not expect a stiff punishment.

'I don't think it's going to disrupt my career,' he said. 'It's not really doping. As far as I'm concerned, it's something which has never influenced my performance. It isn't the first time I've used it.

'If I had known it wasn't allowed, I would never have used it.'

In an upbeat mood, he added: 'I'm going to go a little balder. The few hairs I still have are going to fall out.

'Some bald guys who had been taking it told me it was good. And it really worked, as you can see.'

Romario has kept his career going over the last few years, defying those who said he should retire.

Three years ago, he was sacked by Fluminense after being jeered off the field during the match at the Maracana.

But Vasco, the club where he began his career, took him back and in 2005, in a remarkable turnaround, he scored 22 goals in the Brazilian championship to finish as the competition's top scorer at the age of 39.

In between, he played in the Beach Soccer World Cup and last year went on a four-month excursion to the United States to play for Miami FC, where he added 27 goals to his tally.

He also played four matches for Adelaide United in Australia.

In May, he scored what he claimed to be his 1,000th goal by converting a penalty in the 3-1 win over Sport Recife.

But he admitted the total includes more than 200 goals scored in youth team, reserve, friendly and testimonial games.

On Monday, he was given a special award for the achievement at a ceremony to mark the end of the Brazilian championship.