Menezes hopes Ronaldinho will inspire Brazil
Brazil coach Mano Menezes hopes Ronaldinho can revitalise his struggling side when the Selecao face Ghana in a friendly in London on Monday.sports Updated: Sep 04, 2011 08:59 IST
Brazil coach Mano Menezes hopes Ronaldinho can revitalise his struggling side when the Selecao face Ghana in a friendly in London on Monday.
Menezes handed Ronaldinho a surprise recall for the fixture at Fulham's Craven Cottage after the former Barcelona and AC Milan forward showed signs of a renaissance late in his career.
The 31-year-old looked to have been cast into international exile for good when he was left out of Brazil's squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
At that point Ronaldinho was a shadow of the flamboyant star who helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup and led Barcelona to the 2006 Champions League.
He has played only once for Brazil since the World Cup - a 1-0 friendly defeat against Argentina in 2010 - but has enjoyed a fine run of form with Flamengo.
Ronaldinho has scored 15 times this season, a prolific spell perfectly timed for Menezes, who is desperate to inject some swagger into a Brazilian team that was bereft of inspiration as they crashed out of the Copa America in the quarter finals and then lost 2-0 to Germany in a friendly.
"Ronaldinho is a world champion with the Brazil team and after his return to the country he has readjusted and he is playing very well," Menezes said.
"He is becoming one of the best players of the season and what has been successful with Flamengo can also help the national team."
The fixture also offers a chance for redemption for Marcelo, Real Madrid's attacking left-back, who has yet to feature since Menezes took charge and fell out with his coach after deciding he was unfit to play in the Copa America.
The pair have patched up their relationship sufficiently for Marcelo to return to the squad and he now hopes to cement a place.
"It could look like a lack of commitment, but I have always wanted to be in the Selecao and help my team-mates," Marcelo said.
"I have served the team from the very start, even on long trips. They are the best, so why wouldn't I want to be involved."
Robinho had to pull out of the clash after the AC Milan forward suffered a groin injury, but Menezes can still call on highly-rated Santos striker Neymar, Milan forward Alexandre Pato and Porto targetman Hulk.
Ghana have lost their two previous meetings with Brazil - including a last 16 defeat in the 2006 World Cup - but coach Goran Stevanovic plans to experiment and could give Bristol City winger Albert Adomah a dream debut.
Adomah was hoping to make his debut for Ghana against Nigeria in London last month, but the friendly fixture was postponed due to rioting in the English captial.
His wait continued on Friday when he was left out of the matchday squad as Ghana defeated Swaziland 2-0 in an African Cup of Nations in Accra.
But, with Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan suffering a thigh injury against Swaziland, Stevanovic is likely to include Adomah on Monday, while Rabiu Mohammed and Jordan Ayew will also be given a chance to impress.
The match will also be an emotional occasion for Ghana defender John Pantsil, who will be making his first return to Craven Cottage since leaving Fulham to join Championship club Leicester in the close-season.
"It's always good to be back among friends. I had a great time here," Pantsil said.
"I still have strong emotions for Fulham. I have had plenty of emails and text messages from many friends at Fulham who cannot wait to see me playing once again."
First Published: Sep 04, 2011 08:56 IST