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Throwback: Bebeto’s baby celebration

The year was 94 and, similarly to this summer, the United States of America was coming down with a case of soccer fever.

USA was hosting the World Cup that year in an attempt to galvanise the country into buying into the world’s most popular sport, and what better sales pitch could there be than Brazil’s star-studded side of that year dancing to victory. The Umbro kits in that iconic goldish yellow, the pace and flair of Romario and Bebeto in attack, the sight of a teenage Ronaldo on the bench.

As football very much entered the modern era, the modern era was introduced to a new Brazil who ended a 24-year wait for a World Cup. And along the way, a new celebration was born… if you pardon the pun.

In a quarter-final against the Netherlands, a fiercely competitive one it should be said that ended 3-2 to Brazil, Bebeto and Romario were on fine form. Both found the net with Romario scoring against the nation where he played his football and Bebeto scoring later, rounding the goalkeeper with amazing composure before passing into an empty net.

But the celebration has become more famous than the goal, as Bebeto was not only celebrating the strike but also the birth of his newborn son. ‘Rocking the cradle’ to a capacity crowd, the striker was joined by teammates who mimicked his moves. The celebration has lasted the test of time, now frequently being used when a player scores soon after welcoming a baby into the world.

But it was Mattheus Oliveira, now a 25-year-old professional football in his own right, who originally welcomed into the world in this manner, on the biggest stage of them all by his legendary footballing father.