Rio De Janeiro, Sep 14 (IANS) Alexandre Pato has urged Brazil coach Dunga to recall him for the team’s opening 2018 World Cup qualifiers, declaring himself the best man for the Selecao’s troubled central striker position.
The 26-year-old’s sublime goal in Sao Paulo’s 2-1 victory at Gremio on Sunday took his 2015 scoring tally to 21 from 45 matches, Xinhua news agency reported.
“I want to return to the national team,” the former AC Milan forward told TV Bandeirantes.
“The team will be announced on Thursday and I believe I have played well enough to be there. I don’t see anybody better than me. I can help either as a false nine or out wide on the right or left. But that will depend on Dunga,” he added.
Once considered among the world’s most promising strikers, Pato has been beset in recent seasons by injuries and inconsistent form.
His last international cap was a late substitute’s appearance in the Selecao’s 3-1 friendly victory over Portugal in September 2013.
Brazil will open their World Cup qualifying campaign with an away clash against Chile in Santiago on October 8 before they host Venezuela in Fortaleza five days later.
The Selecao have searched in vain for a centre-forward since the international retirement of Fred after last year’s World Cup.
Among those tested by Dunga in the No.9 role have been China-based striker Diego Tardelli, Liverpool attacker Roberto Firmino and veteran winger Robinho. All have failed to impress.
Brazil’s dearth of attacking options is exacerbated by the absence of captain Neymar, who has two games remaining in a four-match ban from competitive matches.
Sao Paulo’s Colombian manager, Juan Carlos Osorio, added his voice to calls for Pato’s recall to the Brazil squad.
“Alexandre in my humble opinion is among the five best central strikers in the world,” Osorio said after Sunday’s match. “I’m impressed by his technique and his speed. Today he also helped us to regain possession when defending. He has improved as a player and right now he deserves to be in the national team.