Ronaldo was dropped
Monday from Brazil's roster for two World Cup qualifiers next month and
the Confederations Cup.
"Ronaldo claimed personal problems that prevent him from dedicating
himself to the Brazilian team at the moment," Brazil coach Carlos
Alberto Parreira said.
Grafite will take the roster spot of the three-time FIFA Player of the
Year for the qualifiers against Paraguay on Sunday and at Argentina on
June 8. Julio Cesar will replace him at the Confederations Cup, an
eight-nation tournament to be held in Germany from June 15-29.
Ronaldo had hoped to be excused from the Confederations Cup, a
tournament many players and coaches claim is unnecessary. The forward, a
star for Real Madrid in the Spanish League, said he wanted time off
because it would be his only break from playing until after the 2006
Parreira warned last week that he wouldn't accept fatigue as an excuse
for not playing in the Confederations Cup. The decision to drop Ronaldo
from the two qualifiers was a surprise.
"I was prepared to play both games," he told the Globo TV Network. "I
was ready and motivated, but the Brazilian Soccer Confederation has
decided and I have to respect that decision. Now I just want to rest,
get away from it all and get ready for next year."
Ronaldo was sidelined for nearly two years with a serious knee injury
that required two operations. He turned to lead Brazil to the 2002 World
Cup title, scoring both goals in the 2-0 victory over Germany in the
final. Ronaldo scored eight goals in the tournament, moving into a tie
with Pele for the third-most in World Cup history, trailing only West
Germany's Gerd Mueller (14) and France's Just Fontaine (12).
Ronaldo was voted world player of the year in 1996, 1997 and 2002.