Rio de Janeiro, March 17: Brazil coach Dunga has raised the prospect of calling up veterans Robinho and Fred for this year’s Copa America as he seeks to add experience to his youthful squad.
Robinho, overlooked for Brazil’s 2014 World Cup campaign, returned to the ‘Selecao’ in their 2–0 friendly victory over Argenti in Beijing last October. The 31–year–old Santos forward has been included in a 23–man squad for Brazil’s friendlies against France and Chile later this month.
Fred, also 31, has not played for the Selecao since their 1–7 2014 World Cup semifil defeat to Germany. The result prompted him to declare his intertiol career over, a decision he has since retracted.
Dunga said both players could still play important roles for the Selecao. “Robinho has his dribbling and his enthusiasm. He has a different type of leadership. He has already played with the tiol team and did well. He is experienced and when he came back against Argenti he responded well.
“There are players who grow and improve when they put on the Brazilian shirt. Many times at club level they don’t play well but when they play for the tiol team they change. He knows that it’s a unique opportunity.”
Dunga admitted that recalling Fred would likely stir controversy. The former Lyon striker was the target of widespread criticism after the World Cup in which he scored just once despite being the team’s desigted No.9.
But he has since recovered form and confidence, ending 2014 as the leading scorer in Brazil’s Serie A.
“We have to make the most of experience. It will depend a lot on the players and their physical condition. Fred has World Cup experience. We also have to be prepared to face criticism if in the future we decide to call him up. We need to have much more confidence in the player and it will depend on him to respond on the pitch,” Dunga said.
Brazil will meet France in Paris on March 26 before taking on Chile in London three days later. The Copa America will be played in Chile from June 11 to July 4. IANS