Neymar, Sandro and Hulk carry Brazil's hopes for Olympic gold but Ronaldinho left out
18:00 GMT, 11 May 2012
Brazil coach Mano Menezes failed to
pick Ronaldinho on Friday for friendlies ahead of the London Games,
virtually ending the player's chances of making it to the Olympics
Neymar, Alexandre Pato and Paulo
Henrique Ganso were among the 23 players selected for the friendlies
against Denmark on May 26, the United States on May 30, Mexico on June 3
and Argentina on June 9.
Samba star: Neymar could light up the Olympics
The players selected are expected to form the core of a squad which will try to lead Brazil to its first Olympic gold medal in football, 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 – Chelsea defender David Luiz, AC Milan defender Thiago Silva, Barcelona defender Daniel Alves, Real Madrid defender Marcelo, FC Porto striker Hulk and Botafogo goalkeeper Jefferson.
The Olympic tournament is played with under-23 squads but each team may use three over-age players.
Two-time world player of the year Ronaldinho had been regularly selected by Menezes despite playing poorly with Brazilian club Flamengo, but Menezes said it is time to 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.'
Fallen star: Ronaldinho has been left out
Defenders: Daniel Alves, (Barcelona),
Danilo (FC Porto), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Alex Sandro (FC Porto), Thiago
Silva (AC Milan), David Luiz (Chelsea), Bruno Uvini (Tottenham), Juan
Midfielders: Casemiro (Sao Paulo),
Sandro (Tottenham), Romulo (Vasco), Paulo Henrique Ganso (Santos), Lucas
(Sao Paulo), Oscar (Internacional), Giuliano (Dnipro),
Forwards: Alexandre Pato
(Internacional), Hulk (FC Porto), Leandro Damiao (Internacional), Neymar
(Santos), Wellington Nem (Fluminense).
The 32-year-old Ronaldinho had been on the list of 52 players pre-selected for the London Games. He played in the 2008 Beijing Olympics at which Brazil lost in the semifinals to an Argentina team containing Lionel Messi and finished with the bronze.
Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar and midfielder Ramires, who helped Chelsea reach the Champions League final, were on that list but were also left out by Menezes on Friday. Real Madrid playmaker Kaka didn't even make the 52-player list.
Alexandre Pato will receive another chance in the team after missing several Brazil matches because 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 names included 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 football competition Brazil is yet to win. The five-time World Cup champions won Olympic silver in 1984 and 1988, and the bronze in 1996 and 2008. — Squad: Goalkeepers: Jefferson (Botafogo), Neto (Fiorentina), Rafael (Santos).