Rio de Janeiro, Nov 1: Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has guaranteed the place of injured striker Fred at next year’s World Cup.
As expected Fred was not among the 22-man Selecao squad named by Scolari Thursday for friendlies against Honduras Nov 16 and Chile three days later, reported Xinhua.
Chelsea forward Willian and AC Milan winger Robinho were recalled for the first time since 2011 while Paris Saint-Germain attacker Lucas Moura, a regular squad member over the past 18 months, was left out.
Julio Cesar, relegated to Rob Green’s backup at English second-tier club Queen’s Park Ranger’s, was included despite not having played since the Confederations Cup in June.
Like Cesar, Fred has won the unconditional backing of Scolari as he recovers from a serious thigh injury that has sidelined him for two months.
“I will talk about the players who aren’t in the squad only if I want to,” Scolari said during a press conference in Rio de Janeiro Thursday. “Fred is part of my list until the end. Julio (Cesar) is a part of my list until the end.
“I have spoken a lot with Fred, almost weekly. That is when he bothers to answer his phone, because he never does. It’s not easy.
“We talk about football and his situation, about how his injury is coming along and how he is feeling. What I know is that in 15 days he will be right to play. He knows that he is important for us as a member of the squad, not only a player.”
Willian has recovered from a slow start to his Chelsea career by impressing in recent weeks following his European summer move from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.
“As far as Willian is concerned his call-up is a result of his performances and a player who we had called upon but who did not come,” Scolari said, in a clear reference to Diego Costa, who has expressed his wish to represent adopted country Spain.
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers, Victor (Atletico Mineiro).
Defenders: David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain) Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (Roma), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Maxwell (Paris Saint-Germain).
Midfielders: Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Hernanes (Lazio), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur), Ramires (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea).
Forwards: Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Robinho (AC Milan), Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg), Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Willian (Chelsea), Neymar (Barcelona).