Paul Vickery who is one of the better soccer pundits published a piece on ESPN soccer stating that the Brazilian coach, Scolari, has indicated that 80 percent of the Brazilian team for the World Cup 2014 has already been selected. Based on the success of the Confederation Cup, I doubt if Scolari will tinker with his starting eleven or the bench. Scolari has a lot to do with accelerating the work rate of every member of the squad. The forwards are expected to fall back and defend. The mid-field players and full backs are expected to join in the attack. It’s a full court press for ninety minutes and especially in the final with Spain, Brazil out-hustled, out-muscled the Spaniards.
The pre-Scolari teams tended to play too slow, were too tardy and lacked intensity. That is anti-thetical modern football. Like the workers of the world, international players must have a high rate of productivity. Unlike the workers of the world, the professional soccer players are well paid.
Does that mean there is no hope for Ronaldinho, Robinho or Kaka?
Ronaldinho has recovered some form since returning to Brazil and has taken his team, Atletico Mineiro, to the final of Copa Libertadores. But at 33 can Ronaldinho play on two sides of the ball? He certainly is capable of defense splitting passes but for Scolari that might not be enough.
Robinho has fallen off a cliff. A.C. Milan was negotiating a transfer to Santos of Brazil but the transfer negotiations have broken down. Robinho doesn’t seem to be in the plans of A.C. Milan and his hefty salary of 4 million pounds makes it a chore for another club to give the once Brazilian star an opportunity to play on a regular basis.
Kaka’s career also plummeted once moving to Real Madrid. Plagued by injuries and the garguantun footprints of Ronaldo, Mourinho kept him in the shadows. With the advent of Ancellotti, Kaka hopes that he will be given more playing time. Whether that will mean space on the Brazilian national team, that will not be an easy task.
Scolari’s message is that Brazil has entered a new age and the stars of yesteryear must be confined to the history books.