Ronaldinho expected to be left out of Olympics
SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil coach Mano Menezes did not picked Ronaldinho for exhibitions ahead of the London Olympics, limiting the player's chance of making it to the games.
Neymar, Alexandre Pato, Oscar and Paulo Henrique Ganso were among the 23 players summoned for the exhibitions against Denmark on May 26, the United States on May 30, Mexico on June 3 and Argentina on June 9.
The players selected on Friday are expected to form the core of the team that will try to win its first Olympic gold medal, and Menezes hinted that those not on the list likely won't be in London.
"It's correct to affirm that these 23 names are the base of the Olympic team," Menezes said. "It's unlikely we will make any changes. After making evaluations in the last few months, we think these are the names (for London)."
Only six players on the list are older than 23 — David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Jefferson, Daniel Alves, Marcelo and Hulk.
The Olympic tournament is played with under-23 squads, but each team may use three over-23 players.
Two-time world player of the year Ronaldinho had been constantly summoned by Menezes despite poor performances with Brazilian club Flamengo, but Menezes said it was time try something different.
"If things are not going well, you make a change," Menezes said. "But you have to respect Ronaldinho, he is a world champion. He is they type of player who can rebound and surprise everyone."
The 32-year-old Ronaldinho had been in the list of 52 players pre-selected for the London Games. He played in the 2008 Beijing Games, when Brazil lost the semifinal to Lionel Messi's Argentina and finished with the bronze.
Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar and Ramires, who helped Chelsea reach the Champions League final, were in that pre-list but also were left out by Menezes on Friday. Real Madrid's Kaka didn't even make the 52-player list.
Alexandre Pato is getting another chance in the team after missing several Brazil matches because of a series of injuries while playing with AC Milan.
The 20-year-old Neymar will be the main player carrying Brazil's hopes in London, but other promising athletes included in the list are playmaker Lucas and forward Oscar, who scored Brazil's three goals in the 3-2 victory over Portugal in the Under-20 World Cup final last year.
The Olympic tournament is the only significant soccer competition Brazil hasn't won. The five-time World Cup champions won the Olympic silver in 1984 and 1988 and the bronze in 1996 and 2008.