Ganso driven by World Cup dream

Rio de Janeiro, April 2 (IANS) Injury-ravaged midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso has said he was driven by a desire to earn an international recall for Brazil’s 2014 World Cup campaign on home soil.

The 23-year-old has not represented Brazil since last year’s London Olympics but has overcome injury to cement a regular starting berth for Sao Paulo, the club he joined from Santos for $12 million last September, reports Xinhua.

“I have found a way to help the defence by positioning myself better and I think for that reason I am helping the team more,” Ganso said Monday after an impressive individual performance despite his team’s 1-2 loss to Corinthians.

“I feel I have improved in many areas and hopefully that is making me a better player.”

As recently as 12 months ago, Ganso was Brazil’s designated No.10 and considered key to the team’s World Cup preparations.

He formed a devastating duo with Neymar as Santos swept to the 2011 Copa Libertadores title, South America’s equivalent of the Champions League.

But knee surgery in May last year meant he lost his place in the national squad to Oscar, who immediately shone in the playmaker role.

The Chelsea youngster is now one of the first players picked by Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, while Ganso has become the forgotten man of Brazilian football.

“We always have hope,” Ganso said when asked about the possibility of a return to the national team. “But I have to continue thinking about working hard for Sao Paulo and that is what I’m focused on now.

Sao Paulo’s next match is a Copa Libertadores clash against The Strongest in Bolivia’s capital La Paz. The Brazilian outfit are currently second in group 3 with four points from four matches while the Strongest are last, but just one point behind Sao Paulo.

Ronaldinho’s Atletico Mineiro are the group’s runaway leaders on 12 points with two games remaining before the knockout phase.

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