The interim coach of the Brazilian national team, Ramon Menezes, called up 23 players for the team’s games in June, against the African Guinea (17th) and Senegal (20th).
Of these, 14 were at the Qatar World Cup, in November and December 2022, when the team led by Tite fell in the quarterfinals, against Croatia, on penalties.
They are: goalkeepers Alisson, Ederson and Weverton; laterals Danilo and Alex Telles; defenders Éder Militão and Marquinhos; midfielders Casemiro and Bruno Guimarães; midfielder Lucas Paquetá; and strikers Richarlison, Rodrygo, Pedro and Vinicius Junior.
The matches, which will be held in Barcelona and Lisbon, are friendly matches, not worth anything except to test each athlete’s ability to wear the yellow jersey.
Those who went to a World Cup do not need to be tested. If they got there, it’s because they previously demonstrated that they are fit and prepared to defend the selection.
Some are already very experienced, with 30 years or more, like Alisson, Weverton, Casemiro, Danilo and Alex Telles – Ramon knows, I know, you know how each one of them plays, their strengths and weaknesses. And all those mentioned, without exception, play in big leagues and/or big clubs.
In goal, then, the situation is inexplicable. At least one rookie goalkeeper needs to be in every friendly call-up, even if it’s just to train, get a feel for the selection, be “baptized”. This had been consistently done during the Tite era, but this time it was not.
The 14 “unnecessary” could be 15. Neymar, 31, is just not on the list because he continues to recover from a serious ankle problem.
My reasoning: the right thing to do in friendlies is to give new names the opportunity, offer newcomers the chance to feel the weight of their shirt, to know if they can render with the national team what they yield at the club.
Nine players will be able to pass this test, if they are not relegated, all or most of the time, to the bench.
That Ramon climbs, without fear and in at least one of the matches, with many minutes on the field, the news Vanderson (right winger of Monaco, ex-Grêmio), Ayrton Lucas (left winger of Flamengo), Nino (defender of Fluminense) and Joelinton (Newcastle-ING attacking midfielder).
The same goes for Raphael Veiga and Rony from Palmeiras, Malcom (Zenit-RUS), Ibañez (Roma) and André (Fluminense), already called up before but with little or no experience with the national team.
It won’t happen, but I would like to see some players in the under-20 team in these friendlies, such as defender Robert Renan, midfielder Andrey Santos and striker Marcos Leonardo.
Or possible highlights of the current Brazilian Championship, such as striker Endrick (Palmeiras), defender Beraldo (São Paulo), right-back Wesley (Flamengo), left-back Marlon (Cruzeiro), midfielder Christian and striker Vitor Roque (both from Athletico-PR).
It’s the beginning of a cycle, with Qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup ahead of us, and this is the time to check which new talents can be part of it.
In his interim, Ramon should let most of the Cup team (12 of the 14 work in Europe) enjoy the holidays, clear out, and the other two (Pedro and Weverton) dedicate themselves to their respective clubs. They would come back to the selection later.
The only reason not to do this is to build a supposedly more reliable team, hoping to be promoted to the main team by the CBF (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol), which has Carlo Ancelotti, the Italian coach of Real Madrid, as its first option.
Because, in this case, the result of a friendly match can be decisive – he has already lost one, to Morocco, and new setbacks would bury that claim.
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