Brazil does not need a number nine, says Dunga

TERESOPOLIS, Brazil, Oct 12 (Reuters) Brazil coach Dunga has poured scorn on the suggestion that his team lack a so-called ''number nine.'' The number is traditionally worn by the out-and-out striker in Brazilian football and, at national team level, has belonged to Ronaldo for the best part of the last decade.

Ronaldo, hit by a loss of form and injuries, has not been picked since last year's World Cup and Dunga has struggled to find a replacement. The coach, however, said he was unperturbed.

''We have this fixation about the number nine,'' Dunga told reporters yesterday, three days before his team face Colombia in their first match of the 2010 World Cup qualifying competition.

''If we put a number 20 on the field and he started scoring lots of goals, it would cause mayhem.'' ''When I played for Brazil, Romario was the marksman but he wore number 11, so I suppose today he would be out of the team.'' Adriano would have been Ronaldo's obvious substitute until recently but has suffered a dramatic loss of form in the last year while Fred, the other leading candidate, has a long-term injury.

In their absence, Dunga has shared the striker's role between Vagner Love and Afonso, the former managing three goals in 17 games and the latter one in seven.

The coach said it was important for all the players to share goals.

''In modern football, everyone has to score, it's up to whoever is in the penalty area,'' he said.

''If you cross the halfway line, you become a forward and you have to know how to play the ball and have an eye for goal.

''The more players who score goals the better.'' REUTERS BJR HS1001

Story first published: Saturday, October 13, 2007, 14:39 [IST]
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