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Ronaldinho gets Dunga's backing

RONALDINHO, the former World and European Player of the Year who was left out of Brazil's squad for the Confederations Cup, still has a role to play for Brazil, coach Dunga said on Saturday.

Dunga omitted the out-of-form playmaker for both Brazil's recent World Cup qualifiers and this tournament.

But he told a news conference before yesterday's final against the United States that Ronaldhino could yet return to the squad.

"I would like him to come back," said Dunga, "but whether he will come back I don't know.

"I think you must address that question to him directly. He obviously has that responsibility on his shoulders, it depends more on him than on me, but I would like him to come back."

Before the tournament started Dunga said he wanted Ronaldinho to return to full form before he picked him again.

Ronaldinho has failed to settle at AC Milan since his move from Barcelona last year and has recently been confined mostly to the bench.

He was substituted in Brazil's 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in Ecuador last March after one of his worst performances at international level and found himself among the substitutes for the following game at home to Peru and came on late in the match with Brazil already leading 3-0.

However, Brazil has not exactly missed him in South Africa over the last two weeks, despite his impressive international record of 32 goals in 87 international appearances.

Brazil scored 10 goals in its three opening matches against Egypt (4-3), US (3-0) and Italy (3-0) in the qualifying group and, although it only beat hosts South Africa 1-0 in Thursday's semifinal, it still created 23 scoring opportunities in the match, according to FIFA's official statistics.

Dunga also rejected a remark made by Franz Beckenbauer on Friday that Brazil's attack of Robinho, Luis Fabiano and Kaka was not potent enough to win the World Cup next year.

"Anyone can have an opinion," said Dunga. "So let's just look at the number of goals we scored here.

"We had the best attack in the group stages and scored 10 goals and you can't argue against the numbers and the facts."

Spain will play South Africa in the third place playoff in Rustenburg.


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