Brazil omits Ronaldinho, Kaka from Confederations Cup squad

Rio de Janeiro, May 15 (IANS) Former FIFA World Player of the Year winners Ronaldinho and Kaka have been left out of Brazil’s squad for next month’s Confederations Cup.

The Selecao coach Luiz Felipe Scolari also excluded Chelsea midfielder Ramires and Corinthians striker Alexandre Pato from his 23-man squad for the June 15-30 tournament in Brazil, reports Xinhua.

Among the surprise inclusions was 20-year-old Atletico Mineiro midfielder Bernard, who is a reported target of Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund.

“We have chosen the team we think is best for now and for the 2014 World Cup. We could lose out in terms of experience but we will make up for that with the enthusiasm that the young players bring,” Scolari said Tuesday.

Ronaldinho, who played in Brazil’s friendlies against England, Bolivia and Chile earlier this year, was the most surprising omission given his impressive form for Atletico Mineiro in this year’s Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club competition.

Kaka, called up by Scolari for friendlies against Italy and Russia in March, paid the price for lack of opportunities under Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid.

Defending Brazilian top-flight champions Fluminense are the best represented club with three players – Diego Cavalieri, Jean and Fred. Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Atletico Mineiro and Paris Saint-Germain boast two players each.

Brazil have won just one of five matches under Scolari since he replaced Mano Menezes in November last year. The five-time World Cup winners have slipped to 19th in the FIFA rankings, their worst position since the system was introduced in 1993.

The country’s football confederation (CBF) guaranteed Scolari – who led Brazil to victory at the 2002 World Cup – would remain in the position until after the World Cup.

“I want to express my total confidence in the coaching department which will stay with us until 2014,” CBF president Jose Maria Marin said.

The Confederations Cup will comprise each of FIFA’s six continental champions, hosts Brazil and European runners-up Italy. Brazil will open the tournament against Japan at Brasilia’s Mane Garrincha Stadium June 15.

Scolari’s team will warm-up for the event with friendlies against England at Rio’s revamped Maracana Stadium June 2 and France at Porto Alegre’s Arena Gremio a week later.

Brazil squad:

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

Defenders: Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Jean (Fluminense), Filipe Luis (Atletico de Madrid), Marcelo (Real Madrid), David Luiz (Chelsea), Rever (Atletico Mineiro), Dante (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain).

Midfielders: Paulinho (Corinthians), Fernando (Gremio), Luiz Gustavo (Bayern Munich), Hernanes (Lazio), Oscar (Chelsea), Lucas (Paris Saint-Germain), Jadson (Sao Paulo).

Forwards: Neymar (Santos), Fred (Fluminense), Hulk (Zenit), Leandro Damiao(Internacional), Bernard (Atletico Mineiro).

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