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2010
Latino rivals to clash in Qatar
Brazil and Argentina set for eagerly anticipated friendly in the Gulf, heralding return of Ronaldinho.
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2010 12:49 GMT
Messi is hoping to break his losing streak against Brazil, having never beaten them in a senior match [AFP]

Brazil is set to meet with Latino rivals Argentina in a friendly at the Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

The all South American clash on Wednesday is one of 47 international football friendlies kicking off on the same day, but promises to be one of the highlights of the fixtures. 

Mano Menezes, the Brazilian manager, made a suprising inclusion to his 23-man squad, announced on November 2, recalling Ronaldinho after an 18 month abscence from international duty.

The two time Fifa world player of the year has something to prove following his noticeable exclusion from the 2010 World Cup squad chosen by Dunga, Brazil's World Cup coach.

This match is a chance for the 30-year-old AC Milan forward to silence his critics; some have slammed him for swapping his football boots for party shoes.

Argentina's Lionel Messi, Ronaldihno's former Barcelona team-mate, is relishing the chance to play against his old friend.

"I'll come face to face with Ronaldinho, a person I have great affection for," he said.

"To me he's truly like a brother ... and [I] always wish [him] the best."

Impressive line-up

Brazil have won all their previous friendlies, with wins over the the USA, Ukraine and Iran, and Messi is hoping to break his losing streak against Brazil, having never beaten them in a senior match.

Argentina had a comprehensive 4-1 win over World Cup champions Spain under their belts, a win against the Republic of Ireland, but a suprise loss to Japan in October. 

Apart from Ronaldinho and Messi, both squads feature worldclass players.

Menezes includes Chelsea players Alex and Ramieres, Liverpool's Luca Leiva and Philipe Cantihno of Inter Milan.

Sergio Batista, the new Argentine manager, insists his side are not rattled by the big name players in the Brazil selection.

"If I were afraid of Brazil I'd have stayed at home," he said.

He brings an equally impressive line up of worldwide stars, including Javier Adelmar Zanetti (Inter Milan), Aguero (Athletico Madrid), Heinze (Olympique Marseille) and captain Javier Mascherano (Barcelona).

They may be thousands of miles from home, but this contest promises to be as passionate and intense as a Copa America Cup game.

Both sides will be playing for bragging rights before next Summer's Copa America Cup, which takes place in Argentina in July 2011.

Kick off in Doha is 20:00 local time [17:00 GMT].

Source:
Agencies
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