Real star Kaka omitted from Brazil squad for France friendly

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The Independent Online

Real Madrid playmaker Kaka has not been included in Mano Menezes' 23-man Brazil squad ahead of next month's friendly international against France.

Kaka returned to the Madrid first team earlier this month after seven months on the sidelines following knee surgery, but Menezes has decided the 28-year-old should remain in Spain.

Young star Neymar was also excluded for the match on 9 February in Paris as he is playing at the South American Championship with the Under-20 side in Peru.

Internazionale goalkeeper Julio Cesar returns to the group – for the first time under Menezes – but his club-mates Lucio and Maicon miss out. "This was already part of our plans and it's with happiness that I call up Julio Cesar for the first time," Menezes said.

Menezes said he had picked only European-based players for the match at the Stade de France because at home players were only just getting back into match fitness at the start of their season. "The players who play in Europe are in a rhythm of competition, in equal conditions to our adversaries, France," Menezes said.

He also pointed out that several leading Brazilian teams were preparing for the group phase of the South American Libertadores Cup which kicks off the same week of the friendly.

Midfielders Renato Augusto and Jadson, who play at Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk respectively, and Dynamo Kiev forward Andre are the surprise names in Menezes' list.

Menezes named six England-based players in the squad – Tottenham Hotspur pair Heurelho Gomes and Sandro, Manchester United duo Rafael and Anderson, Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva and Chelsea's Ramires.

Meanwhile, Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff has urged the club to sell Brazilian right-back Daniel Alves to Manchester City. Alves has yet to sign an extension to his contract which runs out next year, reportedly demanding to be made the club's second-highest earner behind Lionel Messi.

City have long been linked with the dynamic full-back and are still thought to be interested, as they were when Yaya Touré became disgruntled last season and ended up at Eastlands.

Former player and coach Cruyff believes Barça should cut their losses and sell while they can. "Barça have a wage scale that cannot be ignored," he said in his column in El Periodico. "Barcelona are a sensational team with or without Alves.

"Is it better to have him with us? Sure. However, if Manchester City's offer is for real it may be better to sell him rather than wait for his contract to end and then he will go for free.

"It's exactly the same as Touré. The coach [Pep Guardiola] wants Alves to stay, as he did with Touré – but what cannot be, cannot be."

Striker Carlos Tevez was among several leading Argentine internationals left out of the squad named on Monday for a friendly against Portugal in Geneva next month.

Also missing from coach Sergio Batista's squad to make room for less experienced players were defenders Gabriel Heinze and Martin Demichelis and striker Sergio Aguero. Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain is recovering from back surgery.

"Neither Tevez nor any of the lads who were left off this list are out of the national team," Batista said.

Argentina are preparing to host the Copa America in July. Batista's record since taking over from Diego Maradona is three friendly wins over Ireland, Spain and Brazil and one defeat by Japan.

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