Menezes names talented Brazil squad for the London 2012 Olympics
Friday, 06 July 2012
July 6 - Brazil's coach Mano Menezes has named Thiago Silva, Hulk and Marcelo as his overage players in his squad for this summer's London 2012 Olympic Games.
Menezes was able to pick three players over the age of 23 in his 18 man squad and AC Milan defender Silva (pictured above), one of the world's top centre backs, was widely expected to be included.
Porto forward Hulk will be a powerful threat up front, while Marcelo of Real Madrid will give Menezes a useful attacking option from left back, and he could also play on the left wing if necessary.
His inclusion meant there was no place for Barcelona's attacking full back Dani Alves.
There was also no call up for Chelsea's David Luiz, or goalkeeper Jefferson.
The Botafogo star had claimed last month that Luiz was, alongside Silva, one of the three overage players who would be picked.
Menezes has plenty of quality in his squad, most notably wonderkid Neymar (pictured below), and his Santos teammate Paulo Henrique Ganso.
Neymar will hope to make his mark on the global stage for the Seleção in the same way as Leo Messi did for the gold medal winning Argentine side in Beijing four years ago.
Santos are also represented in the squad by goalkeeper Rafael Cabral.
Hulk's Porto teammates Alex Sandro and Danilo are selected in defence – both were members of the team which won the Under-20 World Cup title in Colombia last year.
Combative midfielder Rômulo, who recently completed a move to Spartak Moscow from Rio de Janeiro giants Vasco de Gama, is another highly talented youngster called up.
Other European based players chosen to travel to London are Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto, defenders Juan and Rafael of Inter Milan and Manchester United respectively, Tottenham midfielder Sandro and AC Milan's Alexandre Pato.
Bruno Uvini, who endured a torrid time in a recent friendly against Argentina as Messi scored a hat trick, also makes Menezes' squad.
São Paulo's Lucas Moura, another of this highly talented generation of young Brazilians, could star at the Games, as might Internacional duo Oscar and Leandro Damião (pictured below, right and left).
Oscar scored a hat trick in the final of last year's Under-20 World Cup for Brazil against Portugal, while Damião, linked with a move to Europe, is a technical but strong forward.
Intriguingly, no members of the Corinthians side which won the São Paulo outfit's first ever Copa Libertadores title on Wednesday (July 4) were selected by Menezes.
Nonetheless, it is clear Brazil will pose a formidable challenge to anyone hoping of winning gold in London this summer.
Menezes announced his selections at the Hotel Sheraton in Rio de Janeiro, the city which will host the next Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016.
This summer's tournament is particularly important for Brazil, as it is the last competitive action the team will get before the next FIFA World Cup, which they are hosting in 2014.
Therefore, Menezes has named a strong line up including a number of players he is likely to select for the global football showpiece, at which Brazil will be under huge pressure to win and put to bed the psychological scar left by their defeat in the final of the 1950 World Cup on home soil to Uruguay.
Among the big names missing out on the Brazil squad is Ronaldinho (pictured below), who endured a torrid end to his spell with Flamengo earlier this year for the Rio giants.
The Beijing 2008 bronze medallist was not even included on Menezes' 35-man shortlist for the Games, and the forward, now playing for Atlético Mineiro and suing Flamengo, is unlikely to return to the international scene.
Brazil will start as favourites for gold in London, as they bid to win the only title the country has never won in the international game.
They face Egypt, Belarus and New Zealand in the group stage of the draw.
Their main rivals for the gold medal are likely to be a hugely talented Spain squad, bidding to add the Olympic title to the European and world crowns they hold, and Copa America champions Uruguay.
Mexico could be a dark horse, while Britain hope that the home crowd will help galvanise a team which will have barely played together before.
May 2012: Ronaldinho set to miss London 2012 after snubbed by Brazilian coach
May 2012: World Cup legend Ronaldo urges Brazil to break Olympic football hoodoo
April 2012: Brazil and US the bookies favourites for football gold medals
April 2012: Team GB footballers face tough London 2012 test following group draw
March 2012: Brazilian Football Confederation announces names of 52 London 2012 hopefuls