Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said Thursday he will rest the team's top stars in next weekend's World Cup qualifier against Bolivia.
Dida, Cafu, Juan, Roberto Carlos, Emerson, Kaka, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo won't even make the trip to La Paz for Sunday's match. They will stay in Brazil for the team's encounter against Venezuela in the northern city of Belem on Wednesday, in the team's last qualifier. Parreira picked 26 players in his squad for this round of qualifiers, four more than usual.
Brazil is already guaranteed a berth at next year's tournament regardless of the results at the high altitude of Bolivia and at home to Venezuela. The five-time World Cup winner, which lost on its last two visits to La Paz, is second in South America's qualifying group with 30 points, one fewer than Argentina and four more than third-place Ecuador.
Parreira said the top stars will likely return to action against Venezuela _ but not all of them. The coach has dismissed pressure from fans and media to field Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Kaka, Adriano and Robinho at the same time, saying it would undermine the team's defense, AP reports.
Brazil routed Chile 5-0 in its last qualifier, with Kaka, Ronaldo, Adriano and Robinho in the lineup. Adriano netted a hat trick and Robinho scored one, while Kaka and Ronaldo had assists. Ronaldinho, FIFA Player of the Year, was suspended.
All five will be available against Venezuela, and Robinho, the youngest at age 21, is most likely to be left out. The Real Madrid striker is the only one not a regular starter at his club, while Ronaldo and Ronaldinho already have World Cup experience, and Adriano is the team's highest scorer since Parreira's return to the national team in 2003. Brazil is the only nation to have played in every edition since the competition's inception in 1930.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now