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07 December 2023

Ronaldinho dropped by Brazil, Kaka recalled

By Reuters

Mercurial forward Ronaldinho was dropped by Brazil on Tuesday as coach Luiz Felipe Scolari named his squad for this month's friendlies against Italy and Russia.

Real Madrid duo Kaka and Marcelo were recalled and Bayern Munich defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo, who has only been capped twice, was also included by Brazil, who are aiming for a sixth world title when they host next year's World Cup.

Ronaldinho, making his first appearance for a year, had a miserable game against England last month when he was substituted at halftime after missing a penalty.

Kaka, 30, was left out of the squad for the game at Wembley, the first of Scolari's second stint in charge.

Scolari, who led Brazil to their 2002 World Cup win, played down Ronaldinho's omission, saying he wanted to give players an equal chance to show what they could do before selecting the squad for the Confederations Cup in June.

After facing Italy in Geneva on March 21 and Russia at Stamford Bridge in London on March 25, Brazil host Chile in April and England and France in June.

"There were some things I didn't like against England in terms of positioning," Scolari, brought back in November after Mano Menezes was sacked, told a news conference.

"I'm going to give an equal chance to all the players who under consideration (for the Confederations Cup).

"In principle, I'm giving the two (Ronaldinho and Kaka) the same chance. One was called for the first match and the other has been selected for these two games.

"Whether both of them can be picked (together) in the future, I don't know."

Ronaldinho, 32, has been in and out of the Brazil squad over the last few years and missed the 2010 World Cup as his career went steadily downhill, widely blamed on his partying lifestyle.

Kaka, plagued by injury and fitness problems since he was named World Player of the Year in 2007, played impressively against Iraq and Japan last October, his first appearances since the tournament in South Africa.


Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers), Diego Cavalieri (Fluminense)

Defenders: Daniel Alves (Barcelona), David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Paris St Germain), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Dede (Vasco da Gama)

Midfielders: Ramires (Chelsea), Paulinho (Corinthians), Luiz Gustavo (Bayern Munich), Fernando (Gremio), Jean (Fluminense), Oscar (Chelsea), Lucas (Paris St Germain), Kaka (Real Madrid), Hernanes (Lazio)

Forwards: Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg), Neymar (Santos), Fred (Fluminense)