Brazil Opt for Ageing Kaka Over In-form Coutinho
The footballing world has been left scratching its head following the decision by Brazil head coach Dunga to select an ageing Kaka over Liverpool’s in-form attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho for the upcoming friendly matches against Costa Rica and the USA. While the former Ballon d’Or winner has fallen out of favour with Brazil’s management in recent times, making just seven appearances in the past five years, Coutinho was part of Dunga’s Copa America squad earlier this season. The door may still be open for the 23-year old but being dropped in favour of an ageing Kaka has sent a message out to Brazil fans that Dunga may still be the safety-first coach he was during his first spell in charge.
As well as the fact Kaka is currently plying his trade in America’s still-improving MLS while Coutinho has been catching the eye in the Premier League, the decision has been seen as the safe option by a Brazil team still working its way back into the nation’s affections following last year’s World Cup humiliation. In his defence, Kaka has been sensational in the MLS since his move to the states, scoring 10 goals and providing four assists for Orlando. While the level of football in America has significantly improved over the past couple of years, it’s still some way behind those leagues most of this Brazil squad play in.
During the time Kaka has been taking the modest level of defenders in the MLS to school, Coutinho has been forced to learn his trade in one of the toughest leagues in the world, especially for technical players such as the Liverpool star. Having been instrumental to Liverpool’s second place finish in the Premier League in 2013/14 and offering a bright spark throughout an otherwise troubling 2014/15 campaign for the Reds, Coutinho has gone on to enhance his reputation as one of European most exciting young players.
Having burst out of the traps this season by scoring a sensational late winner for Liverpool against Stoke, Coutinho couldn’t have done more to prove he deserved to keep his place in the Brazil squad. As it stands, though, the attacking midfielder will just need to focus on building on his early season form and make it impossible for Dunga to overlook him when it comes to naming his squad for World Cup Qualification in October against Chile and then Venezuela.
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