Ronaldo To Miss World Cup Qualifiers & Confederations Cup for Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO Brazil (Reuters) - Brazilian striking star Ronaldo has been given permission to skip World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Argentina as well as the Confederations Cup in Germany.

"Ronaldo said he had personal problems which prevented him from dedicating himself to the Brazilian national team at the moment coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said.

Parreira had earlier indicated that players missing the Confederations Cup would be excluded from the Brazil's 2006 World Cup squad.

Real Madrid ace Ronaldo signaled last week that he wanted to skip the much-maligned Confederations Cup which will be held from June 15-29 but had not asked to be left out of the World Cup qualifiers.

On Monday Ronaldo said he had talked the situation over with Parreira on the telephone and admitted he was surprised to have been left out of this Sunday's home game against Paraguay and the one in Argentina the following Wednesday.

"I was ready and prepared for these two games but it's the CBF's decision and I have to respect it he said in a television interview.

"I needed a rest and a chance to forget about the things I've been going through added Ronaldo who split up with fiancee Daniella Cicarelli at the start of May three months after throwing a lavish engagement party at a Paris chateau.

"I'm going to prepare well for next year."

Brazil who are second in the 10-nation South American World Cup qualifying group with 24 points from 13 games called up Sao Paulo striker Grafite as Ronaldo's replacement.

Ronaldo won and converted a hat-trick on penalties when Brazil beat Argentina 3-1 last year and is the leading scorer in the competition with eight goals.

But in a thinly veiled threat to Ronaldo and his other European-based stars Parreira has issued a stern warning. "Nobody is irreplaceable he said.



Saturday, September 16