Menezes calls up Pato, Ganso, Neymar for debut
Sao Paulo: New Brazil coach Mano Menezes chose a young squad for the national team’s first match after the World Cup, picking Alexandre Pato, Paulo Henrique Ganso and Neymar for the friendly against the United States next month.
Only four players were included from Brazil’s World Cup squad in South Africa -- Daniel Alves, Ramires, Thiago Silva and Robinho. Kaka, Luis Fabiano and goalkeeper Julio Cesar were among those not summoned on Monday.
“It’s the beginning of a renovation, with the goal being the 2014 World Cup and the (2012) London Olympics,” Menezes said.
Eleven players were summoned for the first time, and seven young enough to play in the Olympic under-23 tournament, a competition Brazil has never won.
Included in the list were right back Rafael of Manchester United, left back Marcelo of Real Madrid and defensive midfielder Lucas of Liverpool.
Menezes accepted the Brazil job on Saturday, a day after Muricy Ramalho rejected the offer because his club Fluminense did not release him from his contract.
Menezes replaced Dunga, who was fired after Brazil’s disappointing 2-1 elimination to the Netherlands in the World Cup in South Africa earlier this month.
“It’s always difficult when Brazil loses, especially because we tend to think we are better than everybody else,” Menezes said.
“In the last two World Cup we were not, and we need to regain this form again. We still have the technical quality to do it.”
Menezes said one player who was in the World Cup squad did not want to be immediately summoned again, but the coach did not say which one made the refusal. After being questioned by reporters, he only said that it wasn’t Kaka.
“We are not excluding any of the players from the previous World Cup,” Menezes said. “We understood that some of the players needed a momentary rest. With time, we will probably have them back in the national team.”
Brazilian club Santos was the team with most players: Robinho and young sensations Neymar, Ganso and Andre. There was heavy pressure for Dunga to summon striker Neymar and midfielder Ganso for the World Cup in South Africa but they were left out from the squad.
They were among those being summoned for the senior squad for the first time on Monday.
Moments after the announcement was made in Rio de Janeiro, TV images showed the Santos players celebrating as if they had scored a goal, hugging and congratulating each other.
Pato had been with the main national squad before, but missed out on the World Cup.
Menezes will have the difficult task of coaching the national team at the home tournament, which will take place in Brazil for the first time since 1950.
“The World Cup in Brazil will make things harder in a way, but we also will have bigger support,” Menezes said. “We need to be ready to overcome the pressure and to be in position to win the title.”
Brazil will also play the Copa America in 2011 in Argentina.
Goalkeepers: Renan (Avai), Jefferson (Botafogo), Victor (Gremio).
Defenders: Rafael (Manchester United), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Andre Santos (Fenerbahce), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), David Luiz (Benfica), Henrique (Racing Santander), Rever (Atletico Mineiro), Thiago Silva (AC Milan).
Midfielders: Ederson (Lyon), Carlos Eduardo (Hoffenheim), Hernanes (Sao Paulo), Paulo Henrique Ganso (Santos), Lucas (Liverpool), Jucilei (Corinthians), Ramires (Benfica), Sandro (Internacional).
Strikers: Robinho (Santos), Neymar (Santos), Alexandre Pato (AC Milan), Andre (Santos), Diego Tardelli (Atletico Mineiro.)
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