Ronaldinho, Toni, Vieira Head Former Champions Overlooked for World Cup
The 32 teams had until midnight yesterday to submit rosters of as many as 30 players to World Cup organizer FIFA, which must be trimmed to 23 by June 1. The tournament starts June 11.
Two-time World Player of the Year Ronaldinho, who helped Brazil win its fifth World Cup in 2002, wasn’t included in a 23- man squad announced by coach Dunga, instead being named on a separate list of seven stand-by players in case of injuries. Former Inter Milan striker Adriano didn’t make either list.
“There comes a moment when reason talks louder than the heart,” Dunga said in comments on FIFA’s World Cup website.
Giuseppe Rossi was chosen as a seventh striker, while Roma forward Francesco Totti wasn’t among those included following speculation he might come out of international retirement for Italy’s defense of its World Cup title.
Manchester City midfielder Vieira, a former France captain and member of the 1998 World Cup-winning squad, failed to do enough to convince coach Raymond Domenech that he should go to South Africa.
“We have been following Pat for a while, hoping he could make it to the World Cup,” Domenech said at a news conference posted on the French soccer federation’s website. “It’s a difficult moment. We tried. He did too.”
Striker Karim Benzema, who joined Real Madrid from Lyon for 35 million euros ($44.2 million) 10 months ago, wasn’t chosen after what Domenech described as a “difficult season” with the Spanish club.
Argentina coach Diego Maradona excluded Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso even after they helped Inter Milan reach this season’s European Champions League final. Real Madrid’s Fernando Gago and Barcelona’s Gabriel Milito were also omitted.
Madrid’s Ruud van Nistelrooy didn’t make the Netherlands’ 30-man squad after trying to recapture the form that yielded 33 goals in 64 international appearances.
“Ruud may be fit, but he didn’t have enough time to come back to his old level after his long-term knee injury,” Netherlands manager Bert van Marwijk said in a statement.
Mexico, which plays host South Africa in the opening match, named a squad with only five midfielders.
Coach Javier Aguirre added several defenders who are able to play the position, including Rafael Marquez, Juan Carlos Valenzuela and Adrian Aldrete. The only midfielders in the squad are brothers Jonathan and Giovani Dos Santos, Andres Guardado, Gerrardo Torrado and Israel Castro.
World governing body FIFA said it will publish the complete lists submitted by the 32 teams on its website tomorrow.