Soccer: Ronaldinho, Adriano out of Brazil's initial squad
Associated Press Writer
SAO PAULO — Ronaldinho, Adriano and Neymar have been left out of Brazil's preliminary World Cup squad.
Coach Dunga announced 23 players and will later Tuesday include seven more to complete the squad. Ronaldinho, Adriano and Neymar may be among the seven chosen, but would only be on standby in case of injuries.
Kaka, Robinho, Maicon and Julio Cesar were picked in the squad, but three-time FIFA world player of the year Ronaldo and veteran left back Roberto Carlos were not included as expected.
Dunga is sticking to most of the players who helped Brazil win last year's Confederations Cup and finish top of South American World Cup qualifying.
"These players are winners," Dunga said. "There is no doubt that they are prepared to help Brazil reach its goal. They are ready to give their best for the country."
One of the biggest surprises was the absence of Adriano, who had been constantly called up by Dunga in recent matches. But there had been doubts because of recent off-the-field problems that caused him to miss several training sessions with Flamengo.
"We gave Adriano numerous chances," Dunga said. "But it came to a time when we had to make a decision."
Wolfsburg's Grafite was called up to take Adriano's place.
Ronaldinho, a two-time FIFA world player of the year, hadn't been called up for the national team since April 2009, but had been playing reasonably well this season with AC Milan and many wanted him to be included in the squad.
Brazilian fans and local media had also been pushing for Dunga to summon Santos young sensations Neymar and Paulo Henrique Ganso, who have been among the hottest players in Brazilian football this year.
The 18-year-old striker Neymar has dazzled fans with his speed and balls skills, being called by many as the new Robinho. The 20-year-old Ganso, or Goose in Portuguese, attracted attention for his maturity and ability as a playmaker. Along with Robinho, they led Santos to more than 100 goals in some 30 matches this year.
"Some players are extremely talented, but we have to test them before taking them to a World Cup," Dunga said. "Maybe they are ready to play in a World Cup now, but maybe they are not."
None have been called up to the senior team so far.
More than 500 Brazilian and international journalists were accredited for the announcement of Dunga's list in Rio de Janeiro.
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Gomes (Tottenham), Doni (AS Roma, Italy).
Defenders: Maicon (Inter Milan), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Michel Bastos (Lyon), Gilberto (Cruzeiro), Lucio (Inter Milan), Juan (AS Roma), Luisao (Benfica), Thiago Silva (AC Milan).
Midfielders: Elano (Galatasaray), Kaka (Real Madrid), Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos), Josue (Wolfsburg), Ramires (Benfica), Felipe Melo (Juventus), Kleberson (Flamengo), Julio Baptista (AS Roma).
Forwards: Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), Nilmar (Villarreal), Robinho (Santos), Grafite (Wolfsburg).