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Oct 30, 2012

Dani Alves back on Brazil squad

SAO PAULO -- Barcelona right back Daniel Alves and Real Madrid playmaker Kaka will be in Brazil's squad for the friendly against Colombia Nov. 14 at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium.

Alves has recovered from a left thigh injury, while Kaka has maintained his spot after playing well in the friendlies against Iraq and Japan this month. Neymar was also selected for the match at the Meadowlands, the 1,000th game in Brazil's history.

There were no surprises in the team picked on Tuesday by coach Mano Menezes, who is trying to prepare Brazil for next year's Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup at home.

Kaka, relegated to a reserve role at Real Madrid, returned to the national team last month for the first time since the 2010 World Cup.

Menezes also selected Chelsea playmaker Oscar and Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva.

"It's very important to be able to keep picking the same squad," Menezes said Tuesday. "I think the national team is on the right track to begin next year in good position to compete in the Confederations Cup, which will give us a better idea of where we are because we will be playing top-level nations. Hopefully we will keep improving until then."

Brazil is missing injured defenders Marcelo of Real Madrid, Alex Sandro of Porto and Dede of Vasco da Gama.

Alves missed the last two exhibitions and was sidelined for nearly three weeks after pulling his left thigh during Barcelona's 2-2 tie against Real Madrid in the Spanish league.

Kaka scored a goal in each of the exhibitions, a 6-0 rout of Iraq and a 4-0 win over Japan.

Menezes left open the possible return of Ronaldinho, a former two-time FIFA Player of the Year who is playing well again in the Brazilian league.

"You need to respect the quality of these experienced players, Ronaldinho is a world champion," Menezes said. "We have to take it slowly, just like we did when he was being criticized for not playing well in the past. He will have the same opportunity as all the other players."

Brazil will play Colombia on Nov. 14 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. It will be the team's final match of the year.

Menezes told Efe News Agency Tuesday that "Colombia is not just (Radamel) Falcao. They have a very well-developed tactical system."

Menezes credited Argentine coach Jose Pekerman for developing Colombia's potential.

"Colombia's tactical commitment was a problem in the past," he said. "They had a quality like ours, but they were missing (the tactics). Now it is a commitment."

The five-time world champion, not having to play qualifying matches, is at a worst-ever 14th in FIFA's ranking.

Information from The Associated Press and Efe News Agency was used in this report.

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