Ronaldinho, Pato called up for Brazil’s friendly

Ronaldinho has been called to Brazil's national team for a friendly. (AP/Pedro Vilela)

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Luiz Felipe Scolari has included Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato in the Brazil squad to play a friendly at Bolivia on Saturday.

Only players from Brazilian clubs were called up for the match in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Part of the proceeds from the friendly will go to the family of 14-year-old Kevin Beltran Espada who was killed at a Copa Libertadores match in February.

Espada died after being hit in the face by a flare apparently set off by fans from Brazilian club Corinthians against San Jose. Twelve Corinthians fans remain in custody in Bolivia awaiting trial.

Neymar and Leandro Damiao also were included in the 18-player squad announced Tuesday by Scolari.

Ronaldinho, who played for Scolari when Brazil won the 2002 World Cup, was not selected by the coach for friendlies against Italy and Russia last month. Scolari picked Kaka instead at the time, but had said that Ronaldinho would get another chance.

Four players from world club champion Corinthians were included in the list, including former AC Milan striker Pato, who hasn’t played for the national team recently because of a series of injuries.

“I have to thank Corinthians for helping me gain this opportunity to defend my country again,” he told local media.

Scolari picked four players from Brazil’s Under-20 squad which was eliminated in the first round of the South American championship.

“The goal is to take advantage of this match to observe the players who may be called up again for the national team in the future,” the coach said.

Brazil is yet to win since Scolari returned to the national team. He debuted with a 2-1 loss to England, before a 2-2 draw with Italy 2-2 and a 1-1 draw with Russia.

The five-time world champions will open the Confederations Cup at home against Japan on June 15.


Goalkeepers: Matheus Vidotto (Corinthians), Jefferson (Botafogo).

Defenders: Douglas Santos (Nautico), Andre Santos (Gremio), Rever (Atletico Mineiro), Doria (Botafogo), Dede (Vasco).

Midfielders: Jean (Fluminense), Arouca (Santos), Ralf (Corinthians), Paulinho (Corinthians), Jadson (Sao Paulo).

Strikers: Neymar (Santos), Leandro Damiao (Internacional), Leandro (Palmeiras), Ronaldinho (Atletico Mineiro), Alexandro Pato (Corinthians), Osvaldo (Sao Paulo).

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