x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Dunga would relish Ronaldinho return

Ronaldinho, the former World and European Player of the Year who was left out of Brazil's squad for the Confederations Cup, still has a role to play, the coach Dunga said.

JOHANNESBURG // Ronaldinho, the former World and European Player of the Year who was left out of Brazil's squad for the Confederations Cup, still has a role to play, the coach Dunga said. Dunga omitted the out-of-form playmaker for both of Brazil's recent World Cup qualifiers and this tournament in South Africa, but he told a news conference before last night's final against the United States that Ronaldhino could yet return to the squad.

"I would like him to come back," said Dunga, "but whether he will I don't know. I think you must address that question to him directly. He obviously has that responsibility on his shoulders, it depends more on him than on me, but I would like him to return." Before the tournament started, Dunga said he wanted Ronaldinho to return to full form before he picked him again. Ronaldinho has failed to settle at AC Milan since his move from Barcelona last year and has recently been confined mostly to the bench. He was substituted in Brazil's 1-1 World Cup qualifyer in Ecuador last March after one of his worst performances at international level and found himself among the substitutes for the following game at home to Peru and came on late with Brazil leading 3-0.

However, Brazil have not exactly missed him over the past two weeks. Brazil scored 10 goals in their three opening matches against Egypt (4-3), the USA (3-0) and Italy (3-0) in the qualifying group and, although they only beat hosts South Africa 1-0 in Thursday's semi-final, they still created 23 scoring opportunities. Dunga also rejected a remark made by the former Germany captain and manager Franz Beckenbauer that Brazil's attack of Robinho, Luis Fabiano and Kaka, was not potent enough to win the World Cup next year.

"Anyone can have an opinion," said Dunga. "So let's just look at the number of goals we scored here. We had the best attack in the group stages and scored 10 goals and you can't argue against the numbers and the facts." * Reuters