RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — Forgotten midfield star Kaka, who hasn't played international football since the 2010 World Cup, was recalled to the Brazil squad yesterday.
The 30-year-old former Footballer of the Year was included in a 23-man group for next month's back-to-back friendlies against Iraq and Japan having last played in the 2-1 quarter-finals defeat against the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.
"It's important to have players with experience," said coach Mano Menezes who insisted that Kaka will be among the "leaders" of a young Brazilian team which is building towards the 2014 World Cup which they will host.
Real Madrid star Kaka was called up to the national squad for friendlies against Gabon and Egypt in October 2011 but was forced to withdraw through injury.
Roma defender Leandro Castan receieved a first call-up while there is plenty of youthful attacking flair in Neymar of Santos, Internacional's Leandro Damiao as well as midfielders Oscar of Chelsea and Lucas who plays with Sao Paulo.
Brazil squad — Goalkeepers: Diego Alves (Valencia/ESP), Victor (Atletico), Jefferson (Botafogo)
Defenders: Adriano (Barcelona/ESP), Alex Sandro (Porto/POR), Daniel Alves (Barcelona/ESP), Marcelo (Real Madrid/ESP), David Luiz (Chelsea/ENG), Dede (Vasco), Leandro Castan (Roma/ITA), Thiago Silva (PSG/FRA)
Midfielders: Fernando (Gremio), Giuliano (Dnipro/UKR), Kaka (Real Madrid/ESP), Lucas (Sao Paulo), Oscar (Chelsea/ENG), Paulinho (Corinthians), Ramires (Chelsea/ENG), Sandro (Tottenham/ENG), Thiago Neves (Fluminense)
Atacantes: Hulk (Zenit/RUS), Neymar (Santos), Leandro Damiao (Internacional)