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Brazil recall Adriano for World Cup qualifiers

By Brian Homewood
May 16, 2008 12:49 IST
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Adriano was recalled by Brazil for next month's World Cup qualifiers on Thursday, only the second time he has been picked by his country since the 2006 World Cup.

The 26-year-old was included in a 25-man squad for the matches away to Paraguay in Asuncion on June 15 and at home to arch-rivals Argentina in Belo Horizonte three days later.

Paraguay lead the 10-team South American qualifying group with 10 points from four games, one ahead of Argentina and two ahead of Brazil.

The same squad will face Canada in a friendly in Seattle on May 31 and Venezuela in Boston on June 6, minus Adriano who has club commitments with Sao Paulo.

As expected, there was no place for troubled forward Ronaldinho, who has been out of action with Barcelona because of fitness and weight problems.

Adriano, plagued by physical and reported alcohol problems last year with Inter Milan, has refound his form since joining Sao Paulo on loan in December and has scored 16 goals in all competitions.

"Everyone knows his potential and he has shown great willpower and capability to come back," Dunga told reporters. "His footballing talent was never in doubt. He deserves to return to the national team."

"Great players like important games. That's where we see their potential," Dunga added.

"He has been under a lot of pressure for a long time and a striker gets back his form by scoring goals. We have been watching him and hoping for his recovery."

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There were no major surprises as Ronaldinho was left out while AC Milan pair Kaka and Alexandre Pato were included.

Dunga asked for understanding for Ronaldinho, saying his recent problems should not cloud his previous years with Barcelona.

"There's a lot of sensationalism with Ronaldinho," said Dunga. "He gave Barcelona back their soul, winning important titles. Now we have to leave him in peace so he can get back his form."

"We know we can count on him in the future."

Dunga reiterated that he wanted Kaka to take part in the Olympic Games as an over-age player but said it would depend on negotiations with Milan, who are not obliged to release him for the tournament.

He also asked for patience with 18-year-old Pato, who scored a stunning goal against Sweden on his international debut after coming on as a substitute.

"I want to protect Pato as much as possible and I can't put the expectations of millions of people on his shoulders," said Dunga.

"Things have to happen naturally. We have to deposit confidence in him, give him incentives. There's no point in doing things in a hurry, we have to let him play his football."

Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Doni (AS Roma), Diego Alves (Almeria)

Defenders: Daniel Alves (Sevilla), Maicon (Inter Milan), Gilberto (Hertha Berlin), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Kleber

(Santos), Lucio (Bayern Munich), Alex Costa (Chelsea), Juan (AS Roma), Luisao (Benfica)

Midfielders: Elano (Manchester City), Gilberto Silva (Arsenal), Mineiro (Hertha Berlin), Josue (VfL Wolfsburg), Anderson

(Manchester United), Diego (Werder Bremen), Kaka (AC Milan)

Forwards: Adriano (Sao Paulo), Alexandre Pato (AC Milan), Julio Baptista (Real Madrid), Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), Rafael

Sobis (Real Betis), Robinho (Real Madrid)

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Brian Homewood
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