August 18, 2011

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) -- Ronaldinho, who has been in excellent form for championship contenders Flamengo, was recalled to Brazil's squad on Thursday.

The former Barcelona and AC Milan forward was included in a 24-man squad by coach Mano Menezes for a friendly against 2010 World Cup quarter-finalists Ghana in London on Sept. 5.

Ronaldinho, a World Cup winner in 2002, wins his first call-up since returning from Europe in January. He last played for Brazil in a 1-0 defeat by Argentina in Qatar in November.

"He is turning into one of the top players in Brazil this season," Menezes told a news conference. "He's been playing frequently and showing his physical improvement because we never doubted his technical (abilities).

"Ronaldinho is becoming a leader who must be a key figure we need in the Brazil team. He can come to signify for the national team what he means to Flamengo."

The 31-year-old, overlooked by former coach Dunga for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, has helped Flamengo vie for the lead with Corinthians in the Brazilian championship.

Ronaldinho's second-placed team are unbeaten in their 16 matches and he has scored nine goals.

There was also a recall for Real Madrid full back Marcelo, Cruzeiro goalkeeper Fabio and forwards Hulk of Porto and Leandro Damiao of Internacional plus a first call-up for Santos defender Danilo.

A friendly was originally arranged for Sept. 5 in Cairo but Egypt pulled out, saying they could not guarantee adequate security.

Brazil will look to bounce back from a 3-2 defeat by Germany in Stuttgart last week, having also lost their Copa America title in Argentina in July when they were beaten on penalties by Paraguay in the quarter-finals.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Fabio (Cruzeiro), Jefferson (Botafogo)

Defenders: Lucio (Inter Milan), Thiago Silva (AC Milan), David Luiz (Chelsea), Dede (Vasco da Gama), Daniel Alves, Adriano (both Barcelona), Danilo (Santos), Marcelo (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Ralf (Corinthians), Luiz Gustavo (Bayern Munich), Elias (Atletico Madrid), Paulo Henrique Ganso (Santos), Lucas (Sao Paulo), Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Forwards: Alexandre Pato, Robinho (both AC Milan), Neymar (Santos), Hulk (Porto), Ronaldinho (Flamengo), Leandro Damiao (Internacional)

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