This Thursday, Brazil national team boss Mano Menezes announced his 24-man squad for the Seleção‘s friendly against Ghana in London on the 5th of September. There were considerable changes from the squad that lost to Germany recently, with some particularly popular inclusions.
Here are five quick talking points regarding this recent squad:
Ronaldinho’s return: In scintillating form for domestic giants Flamengo, 31 year old Ronaldinho Gaúcho makes his long-awaited return to the national side. The twice FIFA World Player of the Year has been impressing recently since moving back home, and the public demand for his selection has been huge.
There is some speculation that his inclusion may just have been Mano Menezes attempting to appease the public after some poor results, but Menezes insists that Ronaldinho is part of his long term plans for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Hulk and Leandro Damião get their chance: Left out of the Copa América despite their great form and potential, young strikers Hulk and Leandro Damião made the squad to try and stake their claim for a place up front.
After impressing for the Seleção in the friendlies before the Copa América, it came as a rather huge surprise that Menezes left Internacional’s Leandro Damião out of the final squad for the tournament in Argentina. Noticing the lack of a natural central presence in Brazil’s attack and Damião’s good form in the domestic championship, Menezes has recalled the 22 year old.
Someone that impressed greatly with his performances for FC Porto last season but inexplicably has only won three caps for the national side, 25 year old forward Hulk comes into the squad to try and give Mano Menezes another option in attack.
Changing of the guard at full-back? There were two very interesting changes at both full-back positions for Mano Menezes. At right back, Maicon has been dropped as Daniel Alves’ backup with youngster Danilo chosen in his place. Over on the other side, the well-criticised André Santos misses out completely, with Real Madrid’s Marcelo given an opportunity.
Menezes was questioned on his choice to bring the 30 year old Maicon to the Copa América as a substitute ahead of their wealth of young and promising full-backs plying their trade in Brazil. Danilo of Santos, soon to be FC Porto, gets the nod and it should be interesting to see how he gets on.
In the case of André Santos, his lapse in concentration to allow Bastian Schweinsteiger to dispossess him and assist a Germany goal may have cost him very heavily indeed. Marcelo has been called up in his place and if he gives a good performance it would be very difficult for Menezes to bring André back.
Ramires left out: Chelsea’s energetic midfielder Ramires missed out on the squad, but it would be unwise to read too much into this. With plenty of uncertainty about his team in all areas of the pitch, it seems like Mano Menezes’ only dead cert is the Chelsea man in the central midfield role.
His exclusion is certainly a little strange though, as he is based in London where the game will be taking place. No-one was directly selected in his place, but we may see Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva having a go in the more athletic role of Brazil’s midfield double pivot.
Mano leaves his favourites at home: In Brazil there has been a discussion every time Menezes picks a squad for the national team about whether he is picking his own ‘favourites’ and ignoring some better quality players. Examples like André Santos, Jádson and Grêmio goalkeeper Víctor are players that have been referred to as ‘Mano’s favourites’, and they all miss out this time around.
The full 24-man squad is as follows:
Júlio César (Internazionale Milano)
Daniel Alves (Barcelona)
Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Lúcio (Internazionale Milano)
Thiago Silva (AC Milan)
David Luiz (Chelsea)
Lucas Leiva (Liverpool)
Luiz Gustavo (Bayern München)
Elias (Atlético Madrid)
Paulo Henrique Ganso (Santos)
Lucas (São Paulo)
Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Alexandre Pato (AC Milan)
Robinho (AC Milan)
Hulk (FC Porto)
Ronaldinho Gaúcho (Flamengo)
Leandro Damião (Internacional)