This day in history of Ronaldo
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Brazil included off-form midfielder Rivaldo in their 17-man squad on Friday as they launched their quest for a sixth World Cup title.
Rivaldo, unable to command a regular place at AC Milan, was among 17 foreign-based players named by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira for Brazil's opening two World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Ecuador early next month.
Five more locally-based players will be added on Tuesday.
"This is the first step towards the Hexa (sixth world title)," said a confident Parreira, who has endured a frustrating six months of experiments since being appointed for a third stint in soccer's hottest seat.
"To start off with, we're going to keep the base of the team which won the Penta (fifth championship). Now, we will start to compete for real. They are players who have proved themselves here in Brazil and abroad."
Apart from Rivaldo, there were no surprise inclusions or exclusions, with Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Gilberto Silva and Kleberson all retaining their places.
Parreira said he had no doubts about including Rivaldo, a hugely gifted player who can produce exasperating fluctuations in form.
"Maybe the national team will be a help to him," said the coach. "I spoke to him and he felt he was in the right frame of mind to be picked. Now it's up to him to keep his place."
Brazil kick off a marathon 18-match campaign, which begins nearly three years ahead of the World Cup to allow enough time to fit complete the programme, away to Colombia in the steamy Caribbean port of Barranquilla on September 7.
Three days later, they host Ecuador in the Amazonian city of Manaus.
Brazil, they only country to have competed at every World Cup, have stuttered in their last two World Cup qualifying campaigns for the 1994 and 2002 tournaments, on each occasion making sure of their place only in their very last game.
They have also struggled since the end of the 2002 World Cup, and failed to reach the semi-finals of this year's Confederations Cup in France.
"We've been through difficulties before and nobody wants to repeat his experience," said Parreira, who was in charge in 1993 when Brazil crashed to their first-ever defeat in a qualifier, away to Bolivia at high altitude in La Paz.
"This time, we want to qualify with games to spare."
Parreira said he was unhappy with FIFA's decision to force the champions -- who were previously given an automatic place at the following World Cup -- to go through the qualifiers.
"My own view is that it's not a fair decision," he said.
Barcelona striker Ronaldinho will miss the Colombia game after being sent off against Turkey in the Confederations Cup, but will be available to face Ecuador.
Goalkeeper: Dida (AC Milan, Italy)
Defenders: Cafu (AC Milan, Italy), Belletti (Villareal, Spain), Lucio (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Edmilson (Olympique Lyon, France), Roque Junior (AC Milan, Italy), Juan (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Junior (Parma, Italy), Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid, Spain)
Midfielders: Gilberto Silva (Arsenal, England), Kleberson (Manchester United, England), Kaka (AC Milan, Italy), Ze Roberto (Bayern Munich, Germany), Emerson (AS Roma, Italy), Rivaldo (AC Milan, Italy)
Strikers: Ronaldo (Real Madrid, Spain), Ronaldinho (Barcelona, Spain)