Cesar returns to Brazil squad

RIO DE JANEIRO - Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar was called up by Brazil for the first time since the 2010 World Cup on Tuesday for next month's friendly away to France.

The 23-man squad picked by coach Mano Menezes includes uncapped midfielders Jadson of Shakhtar Donetsk and Renato Augusto of Bayer Leverkusen.

However, there was still no call-up for Real Madrid's Kaka, who has only recently returned from a long layoff after knee surgery. World Cup defenders Lucio, Juan and Maicon were also overlooked.

Julio Cesar, regarded as one of the world's best goalkeepers going into the World Cup in South Africa, last played in Brazil's 3-2 upset quarter-final defeat by the Netherlands.

"This was already part of our plans and it's with happiness that I call up Julio Cesar for the first time," Menezes told a news conference.

Menezes said he had picked only European-based players for the match at the Stade de France on February 9 because at home players were only just getting back into match fitness at the start of the 2011 season.

"The players who play in Europe are in a rhythm of competition, in equal conditions to our adversaries on February 9, 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.

NO NEYMAR

Teenage prodigy Neymar of Santos was also not included as he is with the Brazil youth team at the South American under-20 championship in Peru.

France won their last meeting with Brazil 1-0 in the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals in Germany. They also beat Brazil 3-0 in the 1998 World Cup final at the Stade de France.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Cesar (Inter Milan), Gomes (Tottenham Hotspur), Neto (Fiorentina)

Defenders: Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Rafael (Manchester United), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Andre Santos (Fenerbahce), Breno (Bayern Munich), David Luiz (Benfica), Thiago Silva (AC Milan), Luisao (Benfica)

Midfielders: Lucas (Liverpool), Ramires (Chelsea), Sandro (Tottenham Hotspur), Elias (Atletico Madrid), Hernanes (Lazio), Anderson (Manchester United), Renato Augusto (Bayer Leverkusen), Jadson (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Forwards: Robinho (AC Milan), Alexandre Pato (AC Milan), Andre (Dynamo Kiev), Hulk (Porto)


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