Brazil have dropped midfielder Alex from
their squad for next month's World Cup qualifier in Ecuador, while
Rivaldo's hopes of an international comeback have been put on hold.
Alex, who plays for Turkey's Fenerbahce, was left out following his
ineffective performance in the goalless draw at home to Colombia last
The left-footed midfielder, enormously gifted but with a reputation for
drifting out of matches, was substituted in the second half after
starting the game in place of suspended AC Milan midfielder Kaka.
Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said he had preferred to select Julio
Baptista for the match in Quito, which will be played at 2,800 metres
above sea level, because the Sevilla players was physically stronger.
"I had three for the same position, Julio Baptista, (Porto midfielder)
Diego and Alex," Parreira said. "But we decided to select Julio as the
game will be in Quito."
Parreira recalled full back Gilberto, who plays for Bundesliga side
Hertha Berlin, and French-based midfielder Dudu Cearense but there were
no major surprises in the squad.
Rivaldo, who said this month that he was hoping for a recall after
resuming his career with Olympiakos in Greece, was not included.
Brazil, unbeaten after 10 games, lead the 10-nation South American World
Cup group with 20 points and are keen to avoid a repeat of the shock 1-0
defeat they suffered on their last visit to Ecuador in 2001.
"It's a complicated game because of the altitude and the opposition,"
said Parreira. "We've planned this very well so that the altitude
interferes as little as possible.
"This is a very important game for the team to finish the year on a high
and start 2005 in good spirits," he added.
"There are no surprises, all these players have been picked by me before."