Daniel Alves back in Brazil squad after injury

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SAO PAULO (AP) -Barcelona right back Daniel Alves and Real Madrid playmaker Kaka were picked Tuesday in Brazil's squad for the friendly against Colombia in two weeks' time.

Daniel Alves has recovered from a left thigh injury, while Kaka has kept his place after playing well in the friendlies against Iraq and Japan this month.

Brazil will play Colombia on Nov. 14 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, United States. It will be the team's final match of the year, and the 1,000th in its history.

There were no surprises in the squad selected by coach Mano Menezes, who is preparing Brazil for next year's Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup at home. Chelsea playmaker Oscar, Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva and Santos striker Neymar are in the squad.

"It's very important to be able to keep picking the same squad," Menezes said. "I think the national team is on the right track to begin next year in good position to compete in the Confederations Cup, which will give us a better idea of where we are because we will be playing top-level nations. Hopefully we will keep improving until then."

For the match against Colombia, Menezes was unable to call on injured defenders Marcelo of Real Madrid, Alex Sandro of FC Porto and Dede of Vasco da Gama.

Daniel Alves missed the last two friendlies and was sidelined for nearly three weeks after pulling his left thigh during Barcelona's 2-2 draw with Real Madrid in the Spanish league this month. But he is training again with his club and should be fully fit ahead of Brazil's friendly.

Kaka secured his spot in the squad after playing well and scoring a goal in each of the friendlies - a 6-0 thrashing of Iraq and a 4-0 win over Japan. He hadn't played for Brazil since its elimination in the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Menezes also left the door open for the possible return of Ronaldinho, who is playing well again in the Brazilian league. The former two-time world player of the year is helping Atletico Mineiro lead in the title chase from Fluminense.

"You need to respect the quality of these experienced players, Ronaldinho is a world champion," Menezes said. "We have to take it slowly, just like we did when he was being criticized for not playing well in the past. He will have the same opportunity as all the other players."

Menezes said the game against Radamel Falcao's Colombia, which has won three straight matches in South American World Cup qualifying, will be a tough challenge for Brazil.

"It will be one of the most difficult matches of the year. Colombia is an opponent which will demand a lot from us, and we will have to be on top of our game to get the win and come up with a convincing performance," he said. "Falcao is having an extraordinary run, but Colombia is not only about Falcao, its game has really developed in all areas."

Brazil will be playing its 1,000th match nearly 100 years after its first - a 2-0 win over English team Exeter City in Rio de Janeiro on July 21, 1914.

The five-time world champions are at an all-time low 14th in FIFA's rankings, mainly because they're excluded from World Cup qualifying as the tournament's host.

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Squad:

Goalkeepers: Diego Alves (Valencia), Jefferson (Botafogo).

Defenders: Adriano (Barcelona), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), David Luiz (Chelsea), Fabio Santos (Corinthians), Leandro Castan (AS Roma), Rever (Atletico Mineiro), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain).

Midfielders: Arouca (Santos), Giuliano (Dnipro), Kaka (Real Madrid), Lucas (Sao Paulo), Oscar (Chelsea), Paulinho (Corinthians), Ramires (Chelsea), Sandro (Tottenham), Thiago Neves (Fluminense).

Forwards: Hulk (Zenit St. Petersburg), Leandro Damiao (Internacional), Neymar (Santos).

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Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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