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panoramix
06-05-05, 12:20 AM
Brazil striker Robinho has been a hot topic of conversation in football circles in the run-up to the South American FIFA World Cup? qualifiers this week.

The 21-year-old Santos striker is reportedly about to be snapped up by Real Madrid as Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira considers whether to field him in matches against Paraguay on Sunday and Argentina on 8 June.

Superstar Ronaldo is to miss these two fixtures plus June's FIFA Confederations Cup, leaving the way open for Robinho's possible inclusion. Ronaldo asked Parreira to be left out because of the recent separation from his fiancee Daniella Cicarelli.

Inter Milan striker Adriano, Ricardo Oliveira and Robinho appear to be competing for the two strikers' places even though Robinho does not have a lot of experience at top international level.

Parreira said at their training camp: "Robinho has grown a lot, is very mature and is a good option for us."

Adriano meanwhile realises that Ronaldo's absence gives him the chance to make himself an automatic first-choice player. "I must take advantage to ensure my place in the squad for the World Cup finals. I am going to do everything I can to make that happen."

Parreira also has to make a choice of two from three central defenders in Lucio, Roque Junior and Juan.

On their match against Uruguay, Parreira said: "It will be a game requiring patience because Paraguay will probably do as they usually do and try to hit us on the break," adding they would be hard to break down as they often play with up to nine in defensive positions.

Meanwhile, Parreira has something to prove when they meet Argentina as it has been nearly 10 years since they last won in the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires.

Parreira has led Brazil against Argentina seven times but only twice at the Monumental stadium - when they lost 1-0 in 1983 but drew 1-1 in 1993 - and he is out to improve those statistics with a win.