Fred picked for Brazil match against Argentina

TALES AZZONI AP Sports Writer Published:

SAO PAULO (AP) -- Domestic top scorer Fred has been selected for Brazil's return match against Argentina in the Superclassic of the Americas, a two-leg series between the South American rivals.

Coach Mano Menezes on Tuesday also picked forwards Neymar and Leandro Damiao for the Nov. 21 match at La Bombonera Stadium in Buenos Aires.

The game was postponed from October because of a power failure in the interior city of Resistencia in Argentina. Brazil won the first leg 2-1 in Goiania in September. Only players from local clubs are available for the series organized by the CONMEBOL, the South American football confederation.

There had been widespread calls for Menezes to give a chance to Fred, who is the Brazilian league's leading scorer with 19 goals and helped Fluminense win its second title in three years on Sunday, scoring twice in the 3-2 victory over Palmeiras that clinched the trophy with three rounds left.

"This crowns a happy and successful season," Fred said on his Twitter account.

Menezes appeared hesitant to select the 29-year-old striker after he publicly complained about the coach's choices. Fred said he didn't think he would have a chance to play for Brazil as long as Menezes was in command.

"I don't think he likes my work, so I don't expect much," Fred said after not being called up for Brazil's friendlies against South Africa and China earlier this year.

Menezes always said that the door was open for anyone playing well, and with Fred thriving, there was no way for him to leave the striker off the team.

Fred hadn't been summoned for the national team since 2011. He was in Brazil's squad as a youngster at the 2006 World Cup, coming off the bench to score a late goal in the team's 2-0 win over Australia in the group stage.

Other Fluminense players selected include former Liverpool reserve goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri, left back Carlinhos, midfielder Jean and playmaker Thiago Neves. The team won its fourth national title on Sunday, adding to triumphs in 2010, 1984 and 1970.

Menezes also picked four players from Atletico Mineiro, which was fighting Fluminense for the Brazilian league title. He called up young playmaker Bernard and defenders Rever, Leonardo Silva and Marcos Rocha.

In addition to Neymar and Leandro Damiao, other players who have been regularly included in the main squad and also made Tuesday's list were goalkeeper Jefferson, midfielder Paulinho and Thiago Neves.

Brazil won last year's Superclassic of the Americas 2-0 on aggregate. It can secure its second straight title with a draw in Argentina. A victory by the hosts by one goal will prompt a penalty shootout.

Brazil's main team will play Colombia in a friendly in the United States on Wednesday, marking its 1000th match.

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Squad:

Goalkeepers: Diego Cavalieri (Fluminense), Jefferson (Botafogo).

Defenders: Carlinhos (Fluminense), Marcos Rocha (Atletico Mineiro), Fabio Santos (Corinthians), Lucas Marques (Botafogo), Durval (Santos), Leonardo Silva (Atletico Mineiro), Rever (Atletico Mineiro).

Midfielders: Arouca (Santos), Jean (Fluminense), Paulinho (Corinthians), Ralf (Corinthians), Bernard (Atletico Mineiro), Fellype Gabriel (Botafogo), Thiago Neves (Fluminense).

Forwards: Fred (Fluminense), Neymar (Santos), Leandro Damiao (Internacional).