Ronaldinho hopeful of making WCup team
Ronaldinho hasn't given up hope of playing for Brazil at the 2014 World Cup despite not being included in the Confederations Cup squad.
Ronaldinho has been thriving in Brazil and looked set to make the team, but coach Luiz Felipe Scolari decided to leave the former two-time Fifa player of the year off the list of 23 players selected for the warm-up tournament that begins June 15.
The 33-year-old Ronaldinho acknowledged he was surprised by being left out, though he remained confident that he can be recalled before the 2014 World Cup that Brazil will host.
"I wanted to be in the list and I was hopeful, but it didn't happen the way I wanted," Ronaldinho said. "But this motivates me even more to try to play better and be recalled in the future. There's still a long way to go until the World Cup and my goal remains the same."
Ronaldinho has been saying for a long time that it would be perfect to cap his successful career by playing the World Cup in Brazil and winning the title for the home fans. He missed the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and hadn't been called up to the national team very often since then, but things changed when Scolari returned last year and brought the playmaker back.
Ronaldinho was a starter for Scolari when Brazil won the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, and the coach said recently he expected Ronaldinho to be the leader of his team.
Although Ronaldinho was not outstanding when he played with the national team this year, he has been remarkable with Brazilian Atletico Mineiro, gaining widespread praise across the country and leaving few expecting him to be left out.
"I think it surprised a lot of people because of how well my team is playing and because I'm going through a good moment right now," he said.
Scolari had said he would likely choose between Ronaldinho and Kaka for the Confederations Cup, and publicly said that Ronaldinho was in a better position, but none of the veterans made it in the end.
Ronaldinho and the rest of the Brazilian players were jeered by nearly 50 000 fans in the 2-2 home draw in a friendly against Chile last month, but he rebounded with a remarkable performance to lead Atletico Mineiro to the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores just a few days before Scolari announced his Confederations Cup list.
"He has a lot of experience and he has gone through a lot in his career, so can rebound from this," Atletico Mineiro teammate Jo told local media. "He is not too bothered by not making the list."
Scolari did not explain why he didn't pick Ronaldinho, just saying that he made the decisions that he thought were best for the team.
Local media speculated that Scolari was upset that Ronaldinho was reportedly late joining the team before the match against Chile, but the player dismissed this, saying he arrived at the team hotel after other players but still within the curfew established by the team. Assistant coach Carlos Alberto Parreira also downplayed the incident at the time.