Brazil national football coach Mano Menezes announced an intriguing line-up for the February 28 friendly against Bosnia by selecting Ronaldinho, Ganso, Neymar, Hulk and Leandro Damiao and omitting Kaka, Robinho, Pato, Lucio and Maicon. Given Mano’s preference for a 4-3-3 formation in recent friendlies, Ganso, Ronaldinho and Fernandinho could well start behind Neymar, Leandro Damiao and Hulk in a radically offensive formation marked by four attackers (Ronaldinho, Neymar, Leandro Damiao and Hulk). Mano is likely to put Leandro Damiao’s capabilities as a center forward to the test and play Hulk in his natural position at Porto as a right sided attacker, leaving Neymar on the left. Mano explained his decision to omit Kaka from the squad by noting, with respect to the Real Madrid playmaker’s recent performances, “Perhaps I didn’t see something from him that I wanted to see.” In the case of Ronaldinho, in contrast, Mano remarked that he envisioned the Flamengo star midfielder as “part of a project” and that he had chosen not to “read too much” into the player’s largely drab performances for Flamengo of late. Highlights of Mano’s squad selection include the following:
- The continued central partnership of AC Milan’s Thiago Silva and Chelsea’s David Luiz.
- Left back Marcelo, who will surge up the left flank as well as cut diagonally inside and head toward goal.
- Skilled midfielders who can play in deep positions such as Fernandinho, Hernanes and Sandro that can complement the attacking positioning of Ganso.
- The inclusion of Sao Paulo starlet Lucas Moura as another attacking midfield option, particularly as a possible second half substitution for Ganso, Hulk or Ronaldinho.
- The surprise inclusion of Jonas, despite his two goals in the Egypt friendly. Jonas lacks the technical ability of Hulk and Ronaldinho, but evidently found the positioning and composure to find the back of the net in a Brazil friendly, which is more than can be said of most Brazil strikers in recent international matches.
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Diego Alves (Valencia), Rafael (Santos)
Defenders: Marcelo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves, Adriano (both Barcelona), Alex Sandro (Porto), Thiago Silva (AC Milan), David Luiz (Chelsea), Luisao (Benfica), Dede (Vasco da Gama)
Midfielders: Danilo (Porto), Elias (Sporting), Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk), Hernanes (Lazio), Sandro (Tottenham Hotspur), Paulo Henrique Ganso (Santos), Lucas (Sao Paulo), Ronaldinho (Flamengo)
Attackers: Neymar (Santos), Leandro Damiao (Internacional), Jonas (Valencia), Hulk (Porto)