World Cup hosts Brazil will certainly enter next summer’s tournament as one of the frontrunners in the battle to be crowned the best side on the planet.
Luiz Felipe Scolari has the hopes, dreams and expectations of a football-obsessed nation on his shoulders. Not only does every one of the 200 million Brazilian populace want to win the trophy; they want to win it in style.
With the great attacking talent to have originated from the South American nation in the past, the likes of Neymar and Oscar will be expected to deliver scintillating and successful football next June and July.
Despite the talent at Scolari’s fingertips in his current squad, there are a number of wildcards waiting in the wings for a chance to prove their worth.
These five superlative number tens would be pushing for inclusion in most other nations, and should not yet be completely overlooked by Brazil ahead of their historic World Cup campaign.
The 2007 Ballon d’Or winner had an ill-fated four-year spell at Real Madrid, which saw his stock drop from being adjudged as being one of the best on the planet to just another failed talent at the Santiago Bernabéu.
However, the 31-year-old has returned to the venue where he made his name in search of one last hurrah and a chance to shine once more. AC Milan and the Giuseppe Meazza welcomed their prodigal son home with open arms.
It is up to Kaká to spearhead a faltering Rossoneri this season and in turn prove that he still has worth at national level. Could a return to Italy help the artful attacking midfielder add to his 89-cap haul for Brazil next summer?
Undoubtedly the star in Cruzeiro’s historic 2013 Campeonato after a ten-year absence as being Brazil’s top team, the 24-year-old has showcased unparalleled skill, technique and vision for the Belo Horizonte outfit this year.
With rumblings over a potential impending transfer to Europe and a completed season full of sheer quality, Ribeiro deserves a chance to show that he is good enough to represent his country.
Gone are the days when all of Brazil’s side play their club football in Europe; plenty of Brasileirão stars are in the running for inclusion in the World Cup contingent. Ribeiro could well be a match-winning wildcard that Scolari can call upon.
Plagued by inconsistency, the 33-times capped attacking midfielder’s range of passing is as good as any in the world, while his movement and intricacy on the ball make him nothing short of mercurial when at his best.
However, he is unlikely to get a call-up due to his at-times questionable attitude, rather than his ability.
Another former Ballon d’Or winner, Ronaldinho will be 34 by the time of the World Cup but has been turning back the years since returning to his homeland with Atlético Mineiro.
An integral figure in the Estádio Independência outfit’s first-ever Copa Libertadores triumph earlier his year, the crafty veteran still has something to offer, and could well yet add to his 97 caps.
Ronaldinho’s return to the Seleção would be a massively popular move; whether it would be the right move is unclear.
In 2010 this gifted attacking midfielder was one of the hottest prospects in world football; touted to be a superstar in the line of many great Brazilians before him. Fast forward three years and the 24-year-old has seen has career stagnate to some degree.
Part of a Santos dynasty at the start of this decade alongside Neymar, Ganso spurned the opportunity to move to Europe in favour of a switch to São Paulo in 2012, but has failed to hit the dizzy heights he reached in his time at Vila Belmiro.
Ganso still has a lot to offer and can on occasion display moments of breathtaking magic to captivate spectators. An unfortunate downturn in form will more than likely cost him a spot in Brazil’s squad, but don’t bet against the Goose adding to his eight caps in the future.