GALLERY: Romario and seven other high-profile athletes who became politicians

The World Cup winner and now Brazilian Senator celebrates his 49th birthday today

GALLERY: Romario and seven other high-profile athletes who became politicians

Romario. Picture by: Eraldo Peres / AP/Press Association Images

Sport and politics rarely mix but it does in the case of Brazilian legend Romario who turns 49 today.

The former striker was one of the most iconic players of the 1990's. He was part of the Brazil team that won the 1994 World Cup and was FIFA's Player of the Year in the same year. He also had a successful career in Europe with Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven where he won league titles in both countries.

In recent years, Romario has become one of the most popular politicians in Brazil. He was elected to Brazil's Chamber of Deputies in 2010 before becoming a Senator in 2014 after topping the poll in Rio de Janeiro.

Here is Romario and seven others who left the sporting world and became politicians.

Romario (1994 World Cup winner and Brazilian Senator)

Picture by: Neal Simpson / EMPICS Sport

Jack Lynch (Six-time All-Ireland winner and former Taoiseach)

Picture by: PETER KEMP / AP/Press Association Images

Jesse "The Body" Ventura (WWE Hall of Fame member and former Governor of Minnesota)

Picture by: Tom Olmscheid / AP/Press Association Images

Sebastian Coe (Two-time Olympic champion and House of Lords member)

Picture by: Sport and General / S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

Manny Pacquiao (World Champion and Member of the Philippine House of Representatives)

Picture by: Bullit Marquez / AP/Press Association Images

Dick Spring (Former Ireland Rugby International and Former Tanaiste)

Picture by: Brian Little / PA Archive/PA Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger (Seven-time Mr. Olympia and former Governor of California)

Picture by: Rich Pedroncelli / AP/Press Association Images

Vitali Klitschko (Former Heavyweight Champion of the World and Mayor of Kiev)

Picture by: Sergei Chuzavkov / AP/Press Association Images