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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ronaldinho to Return to Brazil National Team for Argentina Friendly

Brazil coach Mano Menezes recalled Ronaldinho to the Brazil national team after an absence of 18 months for Brazil's November 17 friendly against Argentina in Doha, Qatar. While Mano's decision recognizes Ronaldinho's improvement of form at AC Milan under Leonardo and Massimiliano Allegri, his selection also highlights Brazil's need for an experienced midfielder given the absence of players such as Kaka and Ganso due to injury. In a surprise move, Mano’s selection omitted Carlos Eduardo, who currently plays for Russian champions Rubin Kazan. Eduardo had run the midfield for Brazil in the October friendlies against Iran and the Ukraine, but his omission in favor of Ronaldinho signifies Mano’s belief that a more creative midfielder will be required to unlock defensive formations featuring Argentine players such as Martin Demichelis, Nicolas Burdisso, Gabriel Heinze, Javier Mascherano and Angel di Maria. Ronaldinho's call-up to the Canarinha provides him with an opportunity to add to his 87 caps for the Brazil national team and 32 international goals. He last played for the Selecao in April 2009 in a World Cup qualifier against Peru. While Ronaldinho has enjoyed a return to form at the San Siro, the 30 year old attacking midfielder has yet to return to the peak of his form evinced at Barcelona from 2004 to 2006, during which time he brought the Bernabeu to its feet on November 19, 2005 in a 3-0 victory against Real Madrid after scoring two breathtaking goals.

Ronaldinho won the FIFA World Player Year of Award in 2004 and 2005 and defined a decade of creative football that sets him in a league apart from even the greatest modern players such as Brazilian ace Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Raul Gonzalez, Allessandro Del Piero, Jurgen Klinsmann and Roberto Carlos. Mano also called up Santos striker Neymar to the national team after disciplinary problems left him sidelined from the October friendlies against Iran and the Ukraine.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Victor (Gremio) Jeferson (Botafogo), Neto (Atletico-PR).

Defenders: Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Rafael (Manchester United), Adriano Correa (Barcelona), Andre Santos (Fenerbahce), Thiago Silva (Milan), David Luiz (Benfica), Alex Costa (Chelsea), Rever (Atletico-MG).

Midfielders: Lucas (Liverpool), Ramires (Chelsea), Sandro (Tottenham), Jucilei (Corinthians), Douglas (Gremio), Philippe Coutinho (Inter), Ronaldinho (AC Milan), Elias (Corinthians).

Forwards: Robinho (AC Milan), Alexandre Pato (AC Milan), Andre (Dinamo Kiev), Neymar (Santos).

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