Ronaldinho and Totti face World Cup decision day
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Tuesday 11 May 2010
By midnight Central European time tonight, all 32 nations must have delivered a list of 30 names to Fifa's headquarters in Zurich. Some of the most familiar names in world football will have spent an anxious night awaiting their fate.
Has the free-spirited Ronaldinho done enough to convince the disciplinarian Dunga that he deserves another go in the Brazil squad? It is over a year since the Milan playmaker last wore the famous golden jersey, but he has looked a revitalised man this season. "He told me to get in shape," said Ronaldinho of his contact with Dunga. "Now I'm in shape."
Ruud van Nistelrooy is another struggling to make the cut. The former Manchester United striker declared himself ready to come out of international retirement – Bert van Marwijk, the Netherlands coach, responded with warm words but has so far refused to pick him. A late season flurry of goals for Hamburg has helped push Van Nistelrooy's case.
Fabio Capello is not the only coach to have sought a change of mind from former stalwarts. Italy's Marcello Lippi has tried to lure Alessandro Nesta from retirement – while seemingly ignoring the pleas of Francesco Totti that he was ready to return for the Azzurri. Raymond Domenech wants the 37-year-old Claude Makelele to play for France again. That cannot be good news for Patrick Vieira, four years Makelele's junior, who was denied a chance to impress the France coach last week when the ash cloud prevented Domenech from getting to Manchester.
But perhaps the most intriguing line-up will come from Buenos Aires. Javier Zanetti may be enjoying his most successful club season, but the Internazionale captain is not a favourite of Diego Maradona and is expected to miss out, as is his team-mate Diego Milito. Maradona has recently preferred the 36-year-old Martin Palermo, having recalled the striker after a 10-year absence.
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