Ronaldinho, Kaka, and Robinho, three of Brazil's more noted stars over the last decade of Brazilian soccer, have been left off the World Cup roster, which was announced yesterday by head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
While Robinho has not shown the form most soccer fans are used to seeing during his current stint with club team, Italian giants AC Milan, Kaka and Ronaldinho deserved a closer look from Scolari. Ronaldinho especially deserved strong consideration, while Kaka should have also been on the fringe of this decision based on his recent form. Why would Scolari leave off two of Brazil's most creative talents of World Cup's past, and include Maicon, who is in the same phase of his career as the two omitted stars?
Maicon has played well during his current stint with Roma, completing an impressive 87% of his passes while also netting two goals for Roma this season. The problem here is that Dani Alves, Brazil's projected starter at right back, is having a great season for Barcelona and seldom leaves the field. This fact makes Maicon, who also plays right back, very expendable for the Brazilian side. This move to select Maicon by Scolari may prove to just over-glorify his bench, while leaving some creative fire power in Ronaldinho or Kaka, on the outside looking in.
Understanding Scolari's decision on Ronaldinho and Kaka
During his prime, Ronaldinho was considered one of the best ball handlers in the game, his ability to maneuver with the ball and around defenders second to none. While Ronaldinho no longer poses the same menacing threat to defenders on the field, he does still occasionally flash moments of brilliance which he has demonstrated over hist last two seasons with Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro.
Ronaldinho failed to put together and impressive 2013-2014 season as he was slowed by injuries which likely forced Scolari's hand. Ronaldinho, a fan favorite, was likely an omission that weighed on the coach who was quoted by Xinhua as saying "we ask that the 23 players called up are well-received regardless of people's opinions" (bdnews24.com).
After failing to live up to expectations at Real Madrid, Kaka found himself as a fringe player after also failing to make an impact during his return stint to AC Milan. The former FIFA World Player of the Year managed to net 7 goals in 28 appearances and was able to add 4 assists, but was unable to help his side advance in Champions League or qualify for next year's Champions League contest.
Kaka has shown promise in his return to AC Milan, but has not regained the form that placed him in the conversation as one of the world's best. While still possessing elite skill, Scolari likely elected to let one of his youthful midfielders make the final roster over the aging Kaka.
The omissions are proof that the Selecao will not look to the stars that shined bright for Brazil during previous World Cups. As stated in an article on Yahoo News Scolari further confirmed this by stating "I don't think this lack of World Cup experience will play a big part". However it shakes out, if Brazil fail to win the World Cup on their home turf, the question will always remain of whether or not two of the team's legends been left off the final roster.
Goalkeepers: Jefferson (Botafogo), Julio Cesar (Toronto, MLS), Victor (Atletico Mineiro)
Defenders: Dani Alves (Barcelona, Spain), Dante (Bayern Munich, Germany), David Luiz (Chelsea, England), Henrique (Napoli, Italy), Maicon (Roma, Italy), Marcelo (Real Madrid, Spain), Maxwell (Paris Saint-Germain, France), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain, France).
Midfielders: Fernandinho (Manchester City, England), Hernanes (Inter Milan, Italy), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg, Germany), Oscar (Chelsea, England), Paulinho (Tottenham, England), Ramires (Chelsea, England), Willian (Chelsea, England).
Forwards: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine), Fred (Fluminense), Hulk (Zenit St. Petersburg, Russia), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Neymar (Barcelona, Spain).