Brasilia: Brazil boss Luis Felipe Scolari has moved to defend the form of prized-asset Neymar amid claims the forward has been under-performing at club level in recent months.
The Santos star was among those included in Scolari`s squad for the Confederations Cup which is due to take place next month, and the 64-year-old insists his domestic form merited selection.
"Neymar has been playing well," he told reporters. "I understand some people are going to disagree. He`s playing very well from our point of view. It`s what we expect."
Scolari alluded to Ronaldinho`s exclusion from the squad - without directly referencing him - and suggested the omission stemmed from a belief that the former Barcelona forward could no longer prove an important addition to the team.
"Many times we`re criticised for picking A, B or C. I was criticised several times for having Costinha on my team when I was in Portugal," he said.
"Costinha gave me everything I needed in a defensive midfielder, and he wasn`t unanimous at his own club either. That`s the criteria I adopt here, how important a player can be for the team."
Kaka was another high-profile omission from the squad, but the 2002 World Cup-winning boss refused to shut the door on handing recalls to veterans of previous squads in the future.
Scolari added: "History is not over for the veterans. This list is for the Confederations Cup only. We have a project to watch other players who might add more to our group to the World Cup.
"After the CC, we`ll be going to Europe, to places like Russia, Ukraine, England, to watch players from there. We`ll see how this ones go and who else can add more to us.
"To everyone who was left out: play, show us your football, prove you can add to the squad. They could be planting a little seed for the future."
Scolari`s men begin preparations for the Confederations Cup by facing England in a friendly on June 3, before turning their attention towards Japan in the country`s first fixture of the tournament.