Lula defends Brazil World Cup squad

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BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva defended the World Cup squad picked by coach Dunga. However, he singled out one player who might have been included: Ronaldinho.

Silva said Tuesday in a radio interview that Ronaldinho "deserved another chance."

A free-kick specialist and slick dribbler, Ronaldinho was not called up for the 2007 Copa America roster after saying he was tired. His trajectory with the national team plummeted from that moment.

Silva said Ronaldinho is aware that if he was playing to his full potential with club team AC Milan, he would not have been left off the final 23-man Brazil squad.

"Looking at the Brazil squad, Dunga didn't leave anyone off," Silva said on Radio Jangadeira. "There's only one player who deserved another chance, Ronaldinho Gaucho.

"Someone at his level, the star that he is, knows that if he were playing as well as he can, nobody would leave him off the team. We know he went a time without playing, was a reserve with Barcelona and AC Milan and did not play in the Copa America."

Dunga has been criticized for selecting a team of "workers" rather than players with flair such as Ronaldinho. The presence of those creative types did not help Brazil in 2006, when it was knocked out in the quarterfinals by eventual finalist France.