Paulo Henrique Ganso is the future of Brazilian futebol
New coach Mano Menezes did not exactly suspend all 23 players of the Brazilian squad like his French counterpart Laurent Blanc but in rejecting all but four of them for the USA selection, he accomplished a similar sort of result. The four who escaped the axe were Dani Alves, Ramires, Thiago Silva, and Robinho.
Even more stark, the absence of the Brazil’s strength, its cohort of defenders and holding midfielders like Lucio, Juan, Maicon, Felipe Melo, and Gilberto who were Dunga’s torchbearers. Missing too is Elano, another Dunga acolyte.
We can pick up the theme right away: Creativity, speed, and youth.
The average age of Dunga’s squad was 29.3 years, the oldest in Brazilian World Cup history. Menezes’s squad is six years younger at 23.1 years of age. His eye is firmly on the future.
Menezes picks include the highly touted attacking midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso, his Santos team mate and forward, Neymar, and holding midfielder Jucilei Da Silva of Corinthians. Neymar is just 18 years of age and Ganso, a couple of years older. By the time 2014 rolls around, they will be hitting full stride.
He also picked five of the seven players that Dunga kept as reserves. Apart from Ganso, that list includes Diego Tardelli (Atlético Mineiro), Carlos Eduardo (Hoffenheim), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Sandro (Internacional).
Alexandre Pato gets a call up. But his AC Milan team mate Ronaldinho has been overlooked. Man Utd’s right back, Rafael and Liverpool central midfielder Lucas represent the Premiership. Menezes has struck a balance with 12 overseas players and 12 from the domestic league. Depending on the outcome of the Copa Libertadores semi-final match between Sao Paulo and Internacional, Menezes will cut either Sandro or Hernanes to bring the squad to its usual 23 man strength.
None of the goalkeepers have ever debuted for the national team. In total, eleven of the 24 have never played a single minute for the Selecao. The defense and the midfield look very raw except for the presence of Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, and Ramires. The striker corps is a bit more experienced with Robinho, Pato, and Tardelli having differing levels of experience. This of course, is the first cut, which means that Menezes will tinker around with the squad as the matches become more competitive.
Brazil team vs USMNT, August 10th at Giants Stadium, Meadowlands, NJ
Goalkeepers: Victor (Gremio), Jeferson (Botafogo), Renan (Avai)
Defenders: David Luiz (Benfica), Henrique (Santander), Rever (Atlético Mineiro), Thiago Silva (Milan), Rafael (Manchester United), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), André Santos (Fenerbahce)
Midfielders: Sandro (Internacional), Hernanes (São Paulo), Jucilei (Corinthians), Lucas (Liverpool), Ramires (Benfica), Carlos Eduardo (Hoffenheim), Ederson (Lyon), Paulo Henrique Ganso (Santos)
Strikers: Alexandre Pato (Milan), Diego Tardelli (Atlético Mineiro), Andre (Santos), Neymar (Santos), Robinho (Manchester City).