part in his first training session with the Brazilian squad Tuesday and
gave notice he plans to use the Confederations Cup to challenge for a
regular team place.
With Ronaldo absent from Germany's eight-nation, two-week tournament due
to fatigue, the Inter Milan forward can bid for the first-choice slot
held for years by the Real Madrid striker.
"I'm trying to secure my place in the team," Adriano said. "That means I
have to rack up a series of good, consistent performances."
Brazil plays against Greece in Thursday's opening Group B game in
Adriano arrived Monday at the Brazilian training camp near Cologne,
three days later than the rest of the squad, because he played for his
club in the first leg of the Italian Cup final on Sunday.
Adriano scored twice in that match - taking his season's goal tally to
28, helping Inter to a 2-0 win over AS Roma and lifting his confidence.
"I'm feeling very motivated. I played well against Roma and I'm looking
to keep it up for the Brazilian team," Adriano said.
Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has taken care not to tire players like
Adriano who have just finished the European season.
That means 19 of the 23-man squad are getting special attention -
including intensive physiotherapy and extra rest.
Even so, the players' vulnerability was underlined when Parreira lost FC
Barcelona right-back Belletti, who went home Monday with an Achilles'
Parreira had previously exempted Real Madrid's Roberto Carlos and AC
Milan's Cafu from the tournament because of fatigue.
Ronaldinho has twice asked for extra rest time and skipped training
sessions on Sunday and Monday, as did Juventus midfielder Emerson.
Ronaldinho knows he will have to be on form as he'll be watched closely
by Brazil's adversaries. The 2004 FIFA world player of the year was an
admired midfielder, but not yet idolized, when he first appeared in the
Confederations Cup in 1999 in Mexico.
"Nobody knew who I was back then. Now everyone knows who I am, so I'm
expecting a much tougher time," Ronaldinho said.
Before flying to Leipzig later Tuesday, Brazil tried out its probable
team for the match with Greece.
Dida, the only member of the Brazilian side that won the Confederations
Cup in 1997, was in goal.
Sao Paulo's Cicinho replaced Roberto Carlos, shifting to right-back with
Hertha Berlin's Gilberto on the left. Regulars Lucio and Roque Junior
were the central defenders.
Emerson and Ze Roberto occupied defensive midfield positions, while
Ronaldinho, AC Milan's Kaka, Robinho and Adriano provided the firepower