Robinho in Brazil squad; Ronaldinho, Kaka out
Robinho is back in Brazil's national squad for friendlies against the Netherlands and Romania next month, but Ronaldinho and Kaka were again omitted Thursday.
Brazil will host the Netherlands on June 4 in the central city of Goiania and Romania on June 7 in Sao Paulo.
The match against Romania will mark the farewell for former Brazil star Ronaldo, who retired from football earlier this year. He is expected to play only a few minutes before being honored at halftime.
Alexandre Pato, young Santos sensation Neymar and Fred, a member of the 2006 World Cup team, were also included in the list of 28 players selected by coach Mano Menezes.
The friendlies will serve as preparation for the Copa America in July in Argentina, but Menezes said he will only pick his final squad for the South American tournament following the match against Romania.
Menezes said Kaka is unlikely to make the Copa America squad because he feels the midfielder still hasn't fully recovered after having knee surgery that kept him sidelined for several months.
''After (the Copa America) we will evaluate him again to see if he is improving as expected,'' Menezes said.
The coach said Paulo Henrique Ganso, Neymar's teammate at Santos, remains in his plans for the Copa America and only wasn't picked because of a muscle injury. The 21-year-old playmaker will be reevaluated just before the competition.
Ronaldinho likely won't get another chance.
He played well in his return to Brazilian football earlier this year, but a string of recent poor performances brought jeers from Flamengo fans. He missed the 2010 World Cup but was picked by Menezes for the first and only time for the friendly against Argentina last year.
Robinho missed the friendly against Scotland in London in March because Menezes said the AC Milan striker needed to rest.
The match against the Netherlands will mark a rematch of the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals in South Africa, when Brazil was eliminated by the Dutch.
''The friendlies will be important for our preparation for the Copa America, but we have a recent history against the Netherlands,'' Menezes said. ''We can't get that (World Cup) result back, but we will want to win this one.''
Menezes said Brazil will also take the game against Romania seriously despite Ronaldo being set to play a few minutes in the first half as a tribute before he is replaced.
''It will be an important test and we will try to win it, too,'' Menezes said.
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Victor (Gremio), Jefferson (Botafogo), Fabio (Cruzeiro).
Defenders: Dani Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (Inter Milan), Andre Santos (Fenerbahce), Adriano (Barcelona), Lucio (Inter Milan), David Luiz (Chelsea), Thiago Silva (AC Milan), Luisao (Benfica).
Midfielders: Lucas (Liverpool), Ramires (Chelsea), Sandro (Tottenham), Anderson (Manchester United), Elias (Atletico Madrid), Lucas (Sao Paulo), Henrique (Cruzeiro), Jadson (Shakhtar), Elano (Santos), Thiago Neves (Flamengo).
Forwards: Alexandre Pato (Milan), Nilmar (Villarreal), Neymar (Santos), Leandro Damiao (Internacional), Fred (Fluminense), Robinho (Milan).
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