Adriano returns to Brazil squad for World Cup qualifiers

May 16th, 2008 - 1:22 pm ICT by admin  

Rio de Janeiro, May 16 (DPA) Inter Milan’s Brazilian striker Adriano, currently on loan at Sao Paulo, is set to return to the Brazilian national squad following a severe slump in his form and a subsequent recovery. National coach Carlos Dunga Thursday selected Adriano alongside Kaka, Robinho, the young Alexandre Pato and others, for Brazil’s upcoming qualifying games for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, against Paraguay and Argentina, set to be played in mid-June.

The striker showed very poor form in the 2006-2007 season in Italy, complete with instances of alcohol abuse, and was loaned out to Sao Paulo until the end of June.

Back in Brazil, he shone again this year and has so far scored six of the team’s nine goals in the prestigious Copa Libertadores, where Sao Paulo is currently playing the quarterfinals.

Dunga stressed that he is not worried about the added pressure of fielding Adriano after a long absence from national duty against the two best-placed teams in the qualifiers so far. Paraguay leads the table with 10 points from four games, with Argentina second on 9 points and Brazil third on 8, tied with Colombia.

“Great players like important games,” the coach noted. “Adriano’s football was never in any doubt. He has the quality, but he needs to be in an atmosphere where there is love and respect. One striker recovers his form and his confidence scoring goals.”

Dunga did not, however, name Adriano for two friendlies against Canada and Venezuela prior to the qualifiers, set to be played in the United States May 30 and June 6. The coach’s decision will allow the powerful forward - and also Santos defender Kleber - to continue to see action in the Copa Libertadores.

For both the friendlies and the qualifiers, Dunga called Milan’s Kaka and Pato, Real Madrid’s Robinho and Sevilla’s Luis Fabiano.

Also part of the squad are goalkeepers Julio Cesar, Diego Alves and Doni; defenders Alex, Juan, Lucio, Luisao, Daniel Alves, Gilberto and Maicon and midfielders Anderson, Diego, Elano, Gilberto Silva, Josue, Julio Baptista and Mineiro.

Striker Rafael Sobis and defender Marcelo - both under 23 and likely to play for Brazil in the Beijing Olympics - are to play the friendlies, but not the qualifiers.

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