As usual, Brazil is one of the favourites heading into this summer’s FIFA World Cup. And, as usual, there will be no shortage of talented players battling it out for places on the plane to South Africa. One of the most difficult decisions coach Dunga faces is deciding who will join Luis Fabiano in leading the line for Brazil’s attack. There is no shortage of candidates to play up front, and though Villareal’s Nilmar and Santos’ Robinho have both played there in the past, neither is guaranteed a starting job. The lack of a solid, emerging young striker has opened the door for some familiar faces to make this year’s Samba squad.
Ronaldinho is reportedly desperate to strut his stuff on the world stage one final time, but his tendency to drop into open spaces and try to beat opponents one-on-one goes against Dunga’s counter-attacking philosophy. This may be the reason he hasn’t been called up to the national team in over a year. What Dunga wants is an out-and-out striker with a nose for scoring in the box. So, who are the other candidates?
Last week’s Copa Libertadores match up may have provided the answer. The match, which was viewed by an estimated one third of Brazil’s 200 million people, pitted Ronaldo’s Corinthians against Adriano’s Flamengo. Followers of European football may have thought these former stars had retired, but both have been playing very well in the Brazilian league for some time now. Ronaldo has reportedly been training harder than ever and, if Adriano can kick his habit of partying too hard, his natural talent may be just what Dunga is looking for. While neither veteran could be considered a lock to play in South Africa, don’t be surprised to see a blast from the past in the famous yellow jersey this summer.